We have reached a fun moment on MLB Monday today, as New York Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio made his debut in pinstripes. Alas, there was no Rookie of the Year Award back then.
We also had a Subway Series between the Yankees and the New York Giants, as the Bronx Bombers won the first of four straight World Series. But enough blather … read on to see who won our 1936 awards!
1936 American League MVP: Lou Gehrig (original, confirmed)
This award is a piece of cake to confirm: N.Y. first baseman Lou Gehrig (9.7) topped the AL in WAR by almost two full wins over Detroit Tigers second baseman Charlie Gehringer (7.9). The Yankees won the pennant by 19.5 games over the Tigers as well.
The Iron Horse was 33 years old, but that didn’t stop him from topping the circuit in games played (duh), runs (167), home runs (49), walks (130), on-base percentage (.478), slugging percentage (.696), and OPS (1.174). This is the third straight MVP we have given to Gehrig, by the way.
1936 National League MVP: Carl Hubbell (original), Mel Ott (revised)
Since we only consider position players for our MVP awards, this comes down to Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Arky Vaughan (8.1 WAR) and Giants right fielder Mel Ott (8.0). Vaughan won this award last year, for a variety of reasons, but we cannot overlook Ott this year.
The Giants won the pennant by 5 games over both the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals, while the Pirates finished 8 games behind New York. This makes Ott’s value superior to Vaughan’s value, without debate.
For the record, Ott—this is his second MVP after the one we gave him for 1934—topped his peers in HRs (33), SLG (.588), and OPS (1.036), while hitting .328 overall at the plate.
1936 AL Cy Young: Lefty Grove
Boston Red Sox star Lefty Grove posted 11.2 WAR to lead the AL by 3.9 wins over Cleveland pitcher Johnny Allen. That’s an insane margin of superiority over one’s peers. However, Boston finished 28.5 games out of first place, while the Indians were only 6 games better than the Red Sox.
Yet, this is just one of those years that no contending team had anyone resembling a dominant pitcher, and Grove’s season is historical enough in its own right (in terms of WAR), enabling a great player on a bad team to claim this award.
Grove’s ninth Cy Young Award was built upon AL-best marks in ERA (2.81), shutouts (6), WHIP (1.192), and K/BB ratio (2.00) as he posted a 17-12 record for a 74-80 team.
1936 NL Cy Young: Carl Hubbell
Giants stud Carl Hubbell won the MVP vote at the time, and we award him the Cy Young, easily, as he led the NL in pitching WAR by 2.4 points over St. Louis Cardinals (fading) star Dizzy Dean, the winner of the last two NL Cy Youngs since Hubbell last won it in 1933.
Hubbell’s 9.7 WAR resulted from 26 wins, a 2.31 ERA, 1.059 WHIP, and 7.8 hits allowed per 9 innings pitched—all marks best in the league. Pitching for the best team in the league, he was clearly the only choice here in 1936.