MLB

Players with the Most MLB MVPs

Discover the elite players with the most MLB MVPs. Learn about their journeys and what set them apart.

May 22, 2024

Who’s got the most MLB MVPs? Heck, it’s tough to win even one. During a long season, players have to excel on long road trips, and through the dog days of summer, the highs and lows of pennant chases and races, and deal with all the aches and pains that pile up over 162 games.

First, an overview. Since 1931, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) has voted for MVPs in both the American League and National League. There’s no rule about it, but the award has mostly been given to position players, because pitchers are honored with the AL and NL Cy Young awards since 1956.

However, some pitchers have been so invaluable to their teams in certain years that they have won the MVP:

  • Clayton Kershaw (2014)
  • Dennis Eckersley (1992)
  • Roger Clemens (1986)
  • Willie Hernandez (1984)
  • Rollie Fingers (1981)
  • Vida Blue (1971)
  • Denny McLain (1968)
  • Bob Gibson (1968)
  • Sandy Koufax, 1963
  • Don Newcombe, 1956

How the voting works: Two writers from each city with a MLB franchise fill out 10-place ballots, with 10 points awarded to the first-place player, nine for second place and so on.

Here are the players with the most MLB MVP awards, listing those with three or more.

Barry Bonds (7)

Years won: 1990, 1992, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004

The retired San Francisco Giant is one of baseball’s biggest paradoxes. The five-tool superstar with the thorny personality will probably never be topped in MVPs and home runs (762), but he also might never be elected to the Hall of Fame because of his alleged connections to performance-enhancing drugs.

In his final year of eligibility in 2022, Bonds failed to attain the 75-percent threshold needed to reach Cooperstown, but he could be elected by committee vote in future years.

Bonds is arguably the greatest player on two franchises — the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. With the Bucs, Bonds won his first MVP in 1990 with a .301 batting average, 33 home runs and 56 stolen bases and led the team to their first of three straight NLCS appearances after a decade of zero playoff appearances.

He won another MVP in his last season with the Pirates, and then followed that up with another in his first year with the Giants.

Bonds later won four straight MVPs (2001-2004), leading the Giants to a World Series appearance in 2002 and hitting a MLB-record 73 home runs in 2003 at age 39.

Mike Trout (3)

Years won: 2014, 2016, 2019

What’s nearly as impressive as the LA Angels outfielder’s trio of MVPs is his load of runner-up finishes. He has finished second in the MVP voting four times and was among the top two vote-getters seven times in his first full eight seasons. He won the award in 2019 despite his season being cut short by injury after totaling 45 HRs, 104 RBIs and a league-leading 1.083 OPS.

Albert Pujols (3)

Years won: 2005, 2008, 2009

Arguably the greatest slugger in St. Louis Cardinals history, Pujols led the team to two World Series titles and retired with the fourth-most HRs (703) in MLB history. In his third MVP season in 2009, the Dominican led the National League in home runs (47), OPS (1.101) and OPS+ (189).

Pujols finished in the top five in the NL MVP voting in 10 of his first 11 seasons.

Alex Rodriguez (3)

Years won: 2003, 2005, 2007

For a time, A-Rod was considered the best player in baseball and was on track to become the all-time leader in home runs. He was a phenom in Seattle, took his talents to Texas for a few years and then teamed with Derek Jeter and the Yankees to deliver the Bronx Bombers’ only World Series title (2009) in this century.

In 2007, Rodriguez had arguably his greatest statistical season — 54 HRs, 156 RBIs, 1.067 OPS and 176 OPS+.

From 2001-2007, A-Rod hit 329 home runs and averaged nearly 130 RBIs a season. He retired with 696 HRs, but admitted to using steroids during his career — a confession that could cost him entrance into the Hall of Fame.

Mike Schmidt (3)

Years won: 1980, 1981, 1986

The third/first baseman played all 18 of his seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, leading the franchise to their first World Series title in 1980 in a season in which he had 48 home runs and 121 RBIs. Schmidt was one of MLB’s most consistent sluggers, hitting 35 or more HRs in 11 seasons. He was also deft with his mitt, racking up 10 Gold Glove awards.

Mickey Mantle (3)

Years won: 1956, 1957, 1962

The Mick helped lead the Yankees to seven World Series championships in his legendary 18-year career. In 1960, Mantle hit one of the longest home runs in baseball history, a blast that cleared the right field roof in Detroit and landed in a lumber yard across the street.

In his first MVP season in 1956, Mantle recorded a .353 BA, 52 HRs, 130 RBI and an astounding 1.169 OPS. He finished with 536 home runs, 18th all-time.

Yogi Berra (3)

Years won: 1951, 1954, 1955

They Yankees catcher and producer of baseball’s greatest one-liners (“It’s like déjà vu all over again”) had 27 homers and a .492 slugging percentage in 1951 and helped lead the Yankees past the NY Giants in the World Series. He recorded an OPS of .855 and .819 in winning the MVP in 1954 and ’55.

Roy Campanella (3)

Years won: 1951, 1953, 1955

One of the greatest catchers in history didn’t start his MLB career until he was 1948, a year after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was 26 at the time.

In 1955, “Campy” had a .318 BA and .583 SLG with 32 home runs to help the Dodgers win their first World Series title, beating the Yankees to end a streak of five straight WS losses to the Bombers.

Stan Musial (3)

Years won: 1943, 1946, 1948

Stan the Man led the St. Louis Cardinals to three World Series titles in three of his first five seasons and was one of the greatest hitters in the game’s history. He led the league in batting average seven times and in hits six times, and never struck out more than 40 times in all but his final two seasons.

In 1946, after missing the 1945 season because of military service during World War II, Musial had 228 hits and a 1.021 OPS to lead the Cardinals to the World Series title. Two years later he recorded career highs in hits (230), batting average (.376) and OPS (1.152).

He is fourth all-time in hits with 3,630.

Joe DiMaggio (3)

Years won: 1939, 1941, 1947

One of baseball’s most legendary players, Joltin’ Joe played on 10 World Series champions for the Yankees. His 56-game hitting streak likely will never be tied or broken and he averaged nearly 170 hits per season. He batted .381 in his first MVP season in 1939, and in his record hit streak season of 1941, he hit 30 home runs and tallied a league-leading 125 RBIs.

Jimmie Foxx (3)

Years won: 1932, 1933, 1938

The infielder had an incredible two-year run in 1932-33, with 106 home runs, 332 RBIs and an OPS of 1.215 and 1.153. He also helped lead the Philadelphia Athletics to World Series titles in 1929 and 1930.

Future MVP Awards

It’s quite possible that Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani will make the list of players with three or more MVP awards. He already has two MVPs (2021 and 2023), is only 29 years old and plays for one of baseball’s best teams in a huge market. In 2021, he had 46 home runs AND a 9-2 record on the mound.

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Alex Valdes
Alex Valdes is Web Content Manager at Tipico North America. He has written, edited and performed user and site analysis at MoneyTalksNews, NBC Sports, MSN, Bing, MSNBC, as well as newspapers and magazines.
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