You can’t take that vote away from him, though
The voting for the National League MVP wasn’t much of a surprise. Freddie Freeman, who absolutely crushed the ball, won the award by a comfortable margin over second-place finisher Mookie Betts. There was one shocker way down at the bottom of the ballot, though. Ryan Tepera received a single 10th-place vote.
He’s a relief pitcher for the Cubs, and an extremely average one. After getting cut by the Blue Jays last winter, Tepera signed with Chicago and appeared in 21 games. He allowed nine runs in 20 2/3 innings, good for a 3.92 ERA, and allowed the highest WHIP of his career, 1.403. He did have a career-best 13.5 strikeouts per nine, but still, those stats are nothing to write home about.
So how did he end up with the same number of MVP votes as dominant Brewers reliever and Rookie of the Year winner Devin Williams? It was an accident.
The lone vote came from Rick Hummel, a Cardinals writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. The 74-year-old Hummel told Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago that his vote for Tepera was the result of a computer flub.
“I’m sure the Tepera family is delighted, but there’s no way I would have voted for him. It was an accident,” Hummel told Wittenmyer.
Hummel had intended to cast his 10th-place vote for Nationals shortstop Trea Turner, a worthy candidate, but had trouble with the voting website’s dropdown menu. Tepera’s name was near Turner’s alphabetically, and Hummel simply clicked on the wrong guy.
“Trea Turner should have one more point,” Hummel said. “He’s a good player.”
Mistake or not, Tepera’s 18th-place MVP finish will go down in history. Anyone remembering some guys 20 or 30 years from now who ends up on Tepera’s Baseball-Reference page will find MVP-18 in the awards column of his 2020 season. Maybe it will be accompanied by an asterisk explaining Hummel’s error. Or maybe people will just shrug it off because, after all, 2020 was the strangest baseball season in history. It’s only fitting that it included the strangest MVP vote, too.
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