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The Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) is an annual Major League Baseball (MLB) award, given to one outstanding player in the American League and one in the National League. Since 1931, it has been awarded by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA). The winners receive the Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Baseball Award, which became the official name of the award in 1944, in honor of the first MLB commissioner, who served from 1920 until his death on November 25, 1944.

MVP voting takes place before the postseason, but the results are not announced until after the World Series. The BBWAA began by polling three writers in each league city in 1938, reducing that number to two per league city in 1961. The BBWAA does not offer a clear-cut definition of what "most valuable" means, instead leaving the judgment to the individual voters.

First basemen, with 34 winners, have won the most MVPs among infielders, followed by second basemen (16), third basemen (15), and shortstops (15). Of the 24 pitchers who have won the award, 15 are right-handed while 9 are left-handed. Walter Johnson, Carl Hubbell, and Hal Newhouser are the only pitchers who have won multiple times, Newhouser winning consecutively in 1944 and 1945.

Hank Greenberg, Stan Musial, Alex Rodriguez, and Robin Yount have won at different positions, while Rodriguez is the only player who has won the award with two different teams at two different positions. Barry Bonds has won the most often (seven times) and the most consecutively (2001–04). Jimmie Foxx was the first player to win multiple times; 9 players have won three times, and 19 have won twice. Frank Robinson is the only player to win the award in both the American and National Leagues.

The award's only tie occurred in the National League in 1979, when Keith Hernandez and Willie Stargell received an equal number of points. There have been 17 unanimous winners, who received all the first-place votes. The New York Yankees have the most winning players with 22, followed by the St. Louis Cardinals with 17 winners. The award has never been presented to a member of the following five teams: Arizona Diamondbacks, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Tampa Bay Rays, and Washington Nationals. The most recent recipients are Mike Trout in the American League and Clayton Kershaw in the National League.

In recent decades, pitchers have rarely won the award. When Justin Verlander won the AL award in 2011, he became the first pitcher in either league to be named the MVP since Dennis Eckersley in 1992. Verlander also became the first starting pitcher to win this award since Roger Clemens had accomplished the feat in 1986. The National League went even longer without an MVP award to a pitcher—after Bob Gibson won in 1968, no pitcher in that league was named MVP until Kershaw in 2014.


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