In 1974, Cardinals leadoff man Lou Brock stole 118 bases to break Maury Wills' record of 104 and became the catalyst for a team that came close to making the playoffs. Dodgers first baseman Steve Garvey didn't lead the National League in any major categories in 1974, his first full season as a regular. He hit .312 with 21 home runs and 111 RBIs for a team that won its division. In the NL MVP voting, Garvey won and Brock finished second. The outcome seemed to uphold two traditional baseball views: Middle-of the-order hitters who drive in runs are more valuable than leadoff hitters who score them, and if a two-man race is between a player from a team that made the playoffs and a player whose team didn't, an edge should be given to the one on the playoff team because that's what the "valuable" in "most valuable" is all about: winning. If Miguel Cabrera's MVP case for this season against Mike Trout went to the Supreme Court, Garvey vs. Brock would give Cabrera a strong double precedent.
Triple Crown, history doesn't guarantee Miguel Cabrera as AL MVP
Detroit Free Press | Nov 11