There were a lot of power hitters in 2005, two years before MLB’s Mitchell Report came out and revealed all the players that were discovered to bloodstreams full of Human Growth Hormones. Some of the greatest hitters of all time thrived in 05. Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Vladimir Guerrero and Manny Ramirez dominated American League pitching.
And over in the National League, there was Albert Pujols, Andruw Jones and Derrick Lee, the Top 3 in MVP votes.
Derrek Lee led the league in batting average (.335), hits (199), doubles (50), total bases (393) slugging percentage (.662), OBPS (1.080) and offensive WAR (7.3). He was hitting for both power and for average. He also walked away with a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove which means he wasn’t just an outstanding hitter he was quite literally the best defensive first baseman in the league.
It’s also worth pointing out that Lee hit 46 homers to Albert Pujols’s weak little 41. I, much like chicks, dig the long ball so this is another strike against Albert’s MVP heist.
Derrek Lee started the 2015 season carving his name onto the MVP trophy. In a road opening game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Lee hit 4-for-6 with 2 doubles, a home run and 5 RBIs. The Cubs won 16-6. The journey to be snubbed by bitch ass Pujols began.
Less than two weeks later, San Diego came to town and got the same work. Lee went 2-for-3 with a walk, a homer and another 5 RBI onslaught. And I can’t not mention the most underrated play in all of sports: a sacrifice fly. And I’m not sure it matters that it was the second game of a double header but Brian Lawrence was serving up beach balls that game.
At the end of May, he had two back-to-back 2-home run games against the Rockies. 4 home runs in 9 plate appearances.
His best game of the season probably came against the Dodgers at the beginning of June.
5-for-5 with a BOMB and Vin Scully on the call.
The problem is, the MVP trophy is as much about the narrative as it is about performance. It didn’t help Derrick Lee’s case that Albert Pujols hit his 200th home run this season and it was on a fucking grand slam.
The St. Louis Cardinals won 100 games and finished 11.5 games ahead in the NL Central. It wasn’t even close. Meanwhile, Lee’s Cubs had a 79-83 record and were basically irrelevant. But baseball’s MVP trophy should have nothing to do with a team’s record. It’s the one sport where a team’s best player can literally be removed entirely with intentional walks. It’s not Derrek Lee’s that 39-year Greg Maddox was WASHED as hell going 13-15 with a 4.24 ERA.
Reminder: Derrek Lee won the Silver Slugger and Golden Glove awards meaning voters decided that he was both a better hitting and fielding first baseman than Albert Pujols yet somehow Al still stole the MVP.
We shall never forget Derrek Lee’s 2005 MVP worthy season.