The MLB MVP Award is the biggest honor a player can receive in their baseball career, signifying for at least one year that they were among the best — if not the best — players in the Major Leagues.
We all know the regular superstars that win it now, but do you know your history of the MVP? If so, did you also know that three former D2 Baseball players have been able to add the MVP to their career trophy case?
An early 20th century standout, an outfielder with an oddly spelled last name, and a second baseman who went on to a wonderful broadcasting career are among our honorees. But to find out just who these superstars from small beginnings are, read on below.
Paul Waner — East Central
The first D2 alum to win the MVP, Waner was one of the most lethal bats in the game from the very first time he set foot on a field.
Leading the NL in RBI during his MVP year of 1927, "Big Poison" also hit a league-best .380 which also stood as his career high. Even more impressive is that the former EC alum never struck out more than 34 times in a single year.
While he only won the award once, the Pirate great finished in the top ten of voting four other times, with his best finish as a runner-up campaign in 1934 when he lost out to Dizzy Dean.
Carl Yastrzemski — Merrimack
The star outfielder affectionately known as "Yaz", the former Red Sox superstar once called Merrimack his baseball home before heading to Notre Dame. But his big breakout came when he put on the Boston uniform, becoming one of the true faces of the game during his career.
Yaz's one MVP season also coincided when the former MC star won the Triple Crown. His totals also represented career bests in home runs, RBI, and many other offensive categories.
Simply put, one of the greatest Red Sox players in their history had his best year ever in 1967, giving us our second D2 alum to ever win the MVP forty years after Waner did so.
Joe Morgan — Cal State East Bay
One of the few players to ever win the MVP in back-to-back seasons, Morgan spent some time in college at CSEB before going on to star in the Majors as one of the best offensive second baseman in his time.
These two awards were also the last two seasons in a four year streak of top-ten voting finishes, enhancing just how dominant the stretch from 1973-76 was for the former East Bay player.
1976 was a career year for the future broadcaster, and represented the culmination of his talents all in one year as he posted a 9.6 WAR and won the vote by 90 votes over teammate George Foster for the Reds.