It’s time for the “New Deal” years on MLB Monday as we have reached 1933 in baseball years, although nothing is going to change about what we are doing. As modern-day baseball reaches a halfway point for the 2020 season, we keep on cruisin’ through the past …
Read on for the analyses of years gone by!
1933 American League MVP: Jimmie Foxx (original, confirmed)
The Washington Senators topped the league with 99 wins, followed by the New York Yankees (91) and the Philadelphia Athletes (79). No other teams finished above .500 during the regular season. No surprise, our top three candidates for the MVP came from these teams.
Philadelphia first baseman Jimmie Foxx was the best position player in the majors with 9.0 WAR, while New York first baseman Lou Gehrig and Washington shortstop Joe Cronin trailed behind at 7.1 WAR each.
But did the A’s really contend from 20 wins out? They were a combined 20-23 against the Senators and the Yankees, so what really did Philadelphia in was its record against bad teams in Boston and Chicago (18-26 combined).
Plus, the reality is that Foxx won the Triple Crown, leading the AL in home runs (48), RBI (163), batting average (.356), slugging percentage (.703), OPS (1.153), and total bases (403). Overall, his season was lesser than his MVP year the season before, but he was still the best in the league.
As for the Iron Horse, he led the league in runs (138), while Cronin led the AL in doubles (45). Those are good seasons, but Foxx did something special for a team that finished third and above .500 for the season while holding its own against the top two rivals. That’s good enough for another MVP.
1933 National League MVP: Carl Hubbell (original), Chuck Klein (revised)
Five teams finished above .500 and within 10 games of each other in the NL, making this a crowded field of MVP candidates. New York Giants ace Carl Hubbell won the award, which makes him a favorite for the Cy Young below, but we don’t do pitchers for this honor as you know.
The best position players in the senior circuit were Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Chuck Klein (7.9 WAR), Boston Braves center fielder Wally Berger (7.0), Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Arky Vaughan (6.8), and St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Pepper Martin (6.1).
The Phillies finished 30 games out of first place (60-92), and while Klein won the Triple Crown (28-120-.368), it’s going to be hard to elevate him above the others in terms of value. The Braves finished 9 games out in fourth, while the Pirates finished 5 games behind the Giants, in second place. The Cards were a half game behind Boston in the standings.
Klein won the award last year, and this season was even better, as he also led the NL in hits (223), doubles (44), on-base percentage (.422), SLG (.602), OPS (1.025), and TB (365). It was a complete season of dominance … but it happened in a vacuum. Does that matter?
Truth be told, all Berger did was top the league in strikeouts—and that’s not valuable. His .932 OPS was great, but it wasn’t particularly noteworthy. Vaughan led the NL in triples (19), but his OPS (.866) was even less than Berger’s mark. Martin paced his peers in runs (122) and stolen bases (26) with the lowest OPS (.843) in this bunch.
We’ve always said that in the absence of a truly impressive season from the contenders’ stars, then and only then can we consider a season of historical significance from a player on a losing team. This is one of those years, so Klein gets a little nod from our analyses here for his Triple Crown.
1933 AL Cy Young: Lefty Grove
Of the top four pitchers in the American League—Philadephia’s Lefty Grove (8.4 WAR), St. Louis’ Bump Hadley (7.4), Cleveland’s Mel Harder (5.6), and Detroit’s Firpo Marberry (5.4)—only Grove tossed his innings for a winning team.
The A’s ace led the junior circuit in wins (24) and complete games (21) while earning his seventh Cy Young here overall, and his sixth straight now, as well. Grove also notched 6 saves, too, along with his 3.20 ERA.
1933 NL Cy Young: Carl Hubbell
The Giants ace left everyone in the dust for value, posting 9.0 WAR to lead all MLB pitchers. His closest competition in the NL was Chicago Cubs starter Lon Warneke (6.6), who won this award from us for the 1932 season. Cardinals star Dizzy Dean (5.5) was a distant third.
Hubbell posted 23 victories, a 1.66 ERA, 10 shutouts, and a 0.982 WHIP over a league-best 308 2/3 innings. All four of those statistics topped the NL, as well. This was a dominant year for the Giants star—and a well-earned Cy Young Award.