After playing his entire career at shortstop, Rodriguez moved to third base when he joined the New York Yankees in 2004. Not long after, he proceeded to add two more MVP accolades to his collection, the second of which came in an explosive 2007 season when the superstar hit 54 homers and drove in 156 runs on a Yanks team that won the AL Wild Card.
“Mr. Cub” won back-to-back MVP awards in 1958 and 1959, even as his team finished no better than fifth place in either season. Without the help of other star players in the lineup, Banks still managed to became the first National League player to win the award in consecutive years, averaging 46 home runs, 136 RBI, and a .605 slugging percentage over the two seasons.
Although Rose is most widely known for his 4,256 hits—the most in MLB history—over his 24-year career, he was only once recognized as having the best single-season performance. His unforgettable 1973 season included an incredible 230 hits—30 more than the second-place finisher—a .338 batting average, and a .401 on-base percentage. That same year, “Charlie Hustle” carried his Cincinnati Reds to a 99-win season and NL West division title.
In just his second full season in the majors, the 5’8 Pedroia proved that big production can come in small packages. After winning Rookie of the Year honors the previous year, the Red Sox second baseman captured the AL MVP award in 2008, becoming the first player to lead the league in hits (213), doubles (54), and runs scored (118) in 25 years. Pedroia also earned a Gold Glove for his defensive prowess.
Giambi’s rare combination of power, consistency, and discipline led to him being recognized as the best in the American League in 2000. The first baseman hit 43 homers and drove in 137 runs while recording a .333 batting average and drawing 137 walks. His .476 on-base percentage led the league and helped the Oakland Athletics win the AL West.
This Hall Of Fame player had never had a batting average above .293 before exploding to hit for a .331 clip in 1982. His incredible 210-hit season—along with his impressive Gold Glove-worthy defense at shortstop—earned him the first of two American League MVPs and helped propel the Milwaukee Brewers to the World Series.
Votto went from relative unknown—he was not even initially voted into the 2010 All-Star Game—to being a nearly unanimous selection as National League MVP. The first baseman led the NL in slugging percentage (.600) and on-base percentage (.424.) while adding 37 home runs and 113 RBI en route to leading the Reds to their first playoff appearance in 15 years.
In 1986, Schmidt became the only third baseman in the history of the National League to win the Most Valuable Player award three separate times, including back-to-back honors in 1980-81. His first award came as a unanimous decision after the slugger turned in a 48-homer, 121-RBI campaign in 1980 en route to his team winning its first-ever World Series title. Schmidt also won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award in each of his three MVP seasons.