We bring another edition of our MLB Monday Series I Redux today: We’re going back to fill in early seasons of the World Series era when it comes to the league MVP and Cy Young awards. This is an extension of our first miniseries that started back in March 2020, as we began then with the first year MVPs were given out (1911), but we should have started 8 seasons earlier. Almost caught up now …

1908 AL MVP: Matty McIntyre, LF, Detroit

We have four contenders for this specific piece of hardware: Cleveland Naps second baseman Nap Lajoie (7.9 WAR), St. Louis Browns shortstop Bobby Wallace (6.3), Detroit Tigers right fielder Ty Cobb (6.2), and Tigers left fielder Matty McIntyre (6.0). Detroit edged Cleveland by a half game for the pennant, so we have to look at defense here first, in truth, especially with the Tigers outfielders.

Cobb was brutal with his glove (-1.4 dWAR), while McIntyre was exactly average (0.0 dWAR). This means that he wins our award over Lajoie, as without McIntyre, the Tigers would have not have won 90 games and the pennant. This is a surprise to us, too, as obviously Lajoie was the better player—and generally, we’d assume Cobb was, too.

But this is about value, and McIntyre wins out with the following stats: a league-high 105 runs, 13 triples, 20 SBs, 83 BBs, a .295 BA, and a 149 OPS+ mark. He also added 13 sacrifices, which helped boost his value to a team that scored a lot of runs on the year (4.2 per game, most in MLB). Cobb lost out on some MVPs here, because of his mediocre defense. Surprising, really.

1908 NL MVP: Honus Wagner, SS, Pittsburgh

With a whopping 11.5 WAR, Pittsburgh Pirates SS Honus Wagner wins another MVP Award. This makes five for him in our books (1903, 1905, 1911, 1912). The Pirates finished 1 game out of first place, so Wagner carried his team to the brink of the World Series, almost by himself. At age 34, he had one of the best seasons in the history of the sport.

Wagner led the NL in the following categories: hits (201), doubles (39), triples (19), RBI (109), SB (53), AVG (.354), OBP (.415), SLG (.542), OPS (.957), OPS+ (205), and TB (308). He also added 1.4 dWAR to the equation, while compiling the highest offensive WAR production of his legendary career.

1908 AL Cy Young: Ed Walsh, SP, Chicago

The Chicago White Sox finished 1.5 games out of first place, and their ace starter Ed Walsh (10.3 WAR) clinches our AL Cy nod with a historic season. He topped his peers in the junior circuit with the following stats: wins (40), CGs (42), SOs (11), saves (6), IP (464), Ks (269), and BB:K ratio (4.8). His 1.42 ERA wasn’t bad, either, nor was his 0.860 WHIP. We’re not sure just how someone pitches 464 innings.

1908 NL Cy Young: Christy Mathewson, SP, New York

This has to be a record, with three of our four winners achieving historic seasons in double-digit WAR territory. New York Giants star Christy Mathewson (11.8 WAR) had the best season of his career at age 27 as his team finished 1 game behind the Cubs for the pennant. He led the NL in wins (37), ERA (1.43), CGs (34), SOs (11), saves (5), IP (390 2/3), Ks (259), and WHIP (0.827).