Charlie Hayes and MVP Voting

My latest Wall Street Journal piece that went live today looked at other Placido Polanco situations from the last 20 years, where a down-ballot MVP vote just makes you scratch your head and wonder what point the writer was trying to make. There’s no way that someone really thought Polanco was one of the ten most valuable players in the AL, right? There had to be some kind of subtext that the vote represented, I would imagine.

Anyway, in researching the article, I found quite a few of these types of votes, where you can tell that a writer is just trying to shine a light on someone whose skills they may feel get overlooked. Scott Podsednik got a lot of credit for his base stealing, even though he wasn’t any good in 2005. Deivi Cruz got a vote for his defense, even though he couldn’t hit to save his life. Scott Eyre and Jeremy Affeldt got votes because one SF writer likes left-handed middle relievers.

But there was one guy on the list who I just can’t figure out. In 1995, Charlie Hayes got four points, good enough to finish 16th in the MVP voting. Four voting points equals four tenth place votes, two tenth place votes and one ninth place vote, two ninth place votes, or one seventh place vote.

Hayes hit .270/.340/.406 in 1995, making him the exact definition of a league average hitter. He hit 11 home runs. He played third base. The Phillies finished below .500 and did not make the playoffs. Trying to figure out what the voter(s) saw just leads to bewilderment.

He did finish 23rd in the National League in RBIs, I guess. He led the league in… double plays grounded into. That’s probably not it. He made 14 errors and never won a Gold Glove while playing a non-premium position, so it doesn’t seem likely that they were rewarding his defense.

What happened here? This isn’t a George Bell scenario, where an overrated slugger is racking up counting stats. Hayes didn’t do any of the things that normally generate MVP votes. He was a pedestrian player who had a mediocre season on a team that didn’t win.

Did he just have the best personality of all time? And if so, why didn’t that matter two years prior, when he hit .305/.355/.522 in Colorado, led the league in doubles, and drove in 98 runs?

If there’s an explanation for multiple voters putting Charlie Hayes on their ballot, or one guy thinking he belonged in the top seven, I’d love to hear it. Because, from this point in history, it doesn’t make any sense at all. It doesn’t matter of course, but it is one of those things that you have to wonder what happened.

We hoped you liked reading Charlie Hayes and MVP Voting by Dave Cameron!

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Roo Man
Roo Man

This is the dude who had Affeldt 10th. He calls it a tip of the cap to a guy who was overlooked, even though he knows that Affeldt really wasn’t one of the 10 most valuable players in the NL.

Interesting, this guy mentions things like Win Shares and Pythag record and Petco suppressing offensive numbers, yet he also puts Hanley way down on the list for lacking leadership.


I don’t mind that. Nobody said you have to make your decision solely off of stats – but you should at least use the right ones.

Matthew McExpos
Matthew McExpos

I thought that Baggarly was well-informed, candid, and rather funny throughout his piece. I have no problems with his decision – a tenth place vote wasn’t going to change anything.