MLB's Closest MVP Races
Ichiro Suzuki and Jason Giambi
A year after winning the 2000 AL MVP, Oakland first baseman Jason Giambi smacked 38 home runs, racked up 120 RBIs and hit .342. Despite the gaudy stats, Giambi was beaten out for the award by Mariners rookie Ichiro Suzuki by eight points. Ichiro batted .350 with eight home runs, 69 RBI, 53 steals and 127 runs scored for Seattle, which tied the major league record with 116 wins.
Mo Vaughn and Albert Belle
Boston's Mo Vaughn tied for the league lead in RBIs in 1995 with 126. He also hit 39 home runs, batted .300 and stole a career-high 11 bases for the AL East champion Red Sox. He edged the Indians' Albert Belle in the MVP race by eight points, even though Belle led the league in slugging, total bases, doubles and home runs and finished tied with Vaughn in RBIs, while leading the Indians to the best record in baseball.
Maury Wills and Willie Mays
In 1962, the Giants beat the Dodgers in a three-game playoff for the National League pennant and Willie Mays posted the highest RBI total of his career in 1962 (141), batted .304 and hit 49 home runs -- the third highest total of his 22 seasons -- but Maury Wills beat him by seven points in MVP voting. For the season, the Dodgers' speedster batted .299, scored 130 runs set a new major league record with 104 stolen bases.
Duke Snider and Roy Campanella
In the Dodgers' lone championship season in Brooklyn, the club had the numbers one and two vote-getters in the MVP race. Duke Snider finished the campaign with more home runs, RBI and runs scored, but Roy Campanella's leadership behind the plate helped earn him his third MVP award, this one by just five points.
Dizzy Trout and Hal Newhouser
The only pitcher to win back-to-back MVP awards, Hal Newhouser won his first by just four votes over his Tigers' teammate, Dizzy Trout. Newhouser finished the season with a 29-9 record, a 2.22 ERA, 25 complete games and a league-best 187 strikeouts. Trout bested him in ERA (2.12) and complete games (33), but finished 27-14.
Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle
Two of the closest MVP races in history came in consecutive seasons and involved the same pair of Yankees teammates -- Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. Although he hit 40 homers in '60 and 54 in '61, Mantle came in second behind Maris both times, losing by three points in '60 and four points in '61, when Maris hit 61 home runs, breaking Babe Ruth's single-season record.
Juan Gonzalez and Alex Rodriguez
In his first full big league season, Alex Rodriguez hit .358, posted 36 home runs, drove in 123 runs and scored 141. The Rangers' Juan Gonzalez won the first of his two MVP awards by three votes, though, after hitting 47 round-trippers and driving in 144 for the AL West champions.
Bill Nicholson and Marty Marion
In what can best be described as a good hitting season for a shortstop, the Cardinals' Marty Marion .267 with six home runs, 63 RBIs and 50 runs scored. It was still enough to beat out Chicago's Bill Nicholson by one point for the MVP. For the year, the Cubs' outfielder batted .287, hit 33 home runs and drove in 122.
Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio
In perhaps the most interesting MVP race ever, Joe DiMaggio beat Ted Williams by one point for AL MVP despite the fact that Williams won the Triple Crown. Williams' numbers -- .343, 32 home runs and 125 RBIs -- were far better than those of the "Yankee Clipper," who batted .315 with 20 home runs and 97 RBI for the pennant-winning Yankees. A writer left Williams off his ballot entirely, reportedly because of a disagreement between the two, costing the Splendid Splinter his second straight MVP award.
Keith Hernandez and Willie Stargell
In the only tie in MVP history, Keith Hernandez of the Cardinals and Willie Stargell of the Pirates each earned 216 votes. They took different paths to the award, though. Hernandez combined Gold Glove defense with a league-best .344 average and 116 runs. For his part, Stargell belted 32 home runs and helped lead the Pirates to a World Series crown.