No catcher ever has won the Most Valuable Player Award unanimously, an honor
I was one of the 28 writers to vote on the AL MVP Award, the only award for which I was given a ballot (ballot below). The right guy won the award, so that is ultimately what really matters, but I do believe Mauer deserved the additional superlative of having won it unanimously.
I get the narrative on Cabrera; he put up good numbers for a team that finished 10th in runs. But he also checked out, or worse, got sloshed, when his team needed him most, and the Tigers went home, not to the playoffs. He has to be on the ballot, but not first, ahead of a Gold-Glove catcher on a first-place team who put up one of the best seasons ever at the position while winning the modern triple crown (batting, on-base and slugging percentages).
Get enough baseball writers together to vote (in this case, 28 is enough, making for 280 ballot spots) and you're bound to get a few wacky calls. I do respect each writer's right to an opinion, especially when it is based on properly considered research and information. I do get surprised, however, if a voter shows a hometown bias (it happens less because fewer local newspapers control votes, but still happens too often) or commits to a ballot before the season has ended.
This vote had the usual outliers. The surprises for me: three voters put
The last remaining award, NL MVP, also will come as a surprise if it is not unanimous, in this case in favor of
Here is the AL MVP ballot I submitted:
1. Joe Mauer.