Yesterday, saw the first part of my look at the connection between MVPs and championships in the four major North American sports. Now, the second and final part will look at multi-time winners of both, as well as totals and the unluckiest MVPs who never won a championship.
Note: Any gaps in career span in all tables below are seasons that a player was either retired, completely missed due to injury, was not playing professionally due to WWII/other reasons or there was a lockout.
Players with multiple MVPs and Championships
Only nine players in NBA history have multiple MVPs and Championships. Three of these players won their championships with multiple teams, Kareem (5 Lakers, 1 Bucks), LeBron (2 Cavs, 2 Heat) and Wilt (1 76ers, 1 Lakers).
|Player||Position||Career Span||# of MVPs||# of Championships|
|Kareem Abdul Jabbar||C||1969-1989||6||6|
|Michael Jordan||SG/SF||1984-93, 1994-98, 2001-03||5||6|
|Magic Johnson||PG/SG||1979-91, 1995-96||3||5|
Only five players in NFL history have won multiple MVPs and championships (NFL Championship + Super Bowls), with all of them being quarterbacks. The fact that Montana and Young were on the same team from 1987 to 1992 is definitely a historical outlier. Manning (1 Colts, 1 Broncos) is the only one to win his championships with different teams.
|Player||Position||Career||# of MVPs||# of Championships|
|Peyton Manning||QB||1998-2010, 2012-15||5||2|
|Joe Montana||QB||1979-1990, 1992-94||2||4|
Only 14 players in NHL have won multiple Hart trophies and Stanley Cups. Dominik Hasek is the only goalie to have accomplished this. Mark Messier is the only one to win his championships with multiple teams (Oilers 5, Rangers 1).
*Howe played in the rival World Hockey Association (WHA) from 1973-79 and won two Avco Cups (in addition to his 4 Stanley Cups) with the Houston Aeros in 1974 and 1975.
|Players||Position||Career||# of MVPs||# Of Champ|
|Gordie Howe||RW||1946-71, 1973-80||6||4*|
|Bobby Orr||D||1966-77, 1978-79||3||2|
|Mario Lemieux||C||1984-97, 2000-04, 2005-06||3||2|
|Jean Beliveau||C||1950-51, 1952-71||2||10|
|Guy Lafleur||RW||1971-85, 1988-91||2||5|
|Dominik Hasek||G||1990-2002, 2003-04, 2005-08||2||2|
Only 13 MLB players have won multiple MVPs and World Series Championships. Five of these players (Gehrig, DiMaggio, Berra, Mantle, and Maris) all played for the New York Yankees.
|Player (AL)||Position||Career Span||# of MVP (League)||# of Champ|
|Jimmie Foxx||1B/3B/C||1925-42, 1944-45||3 (NL)||2|
|Joe DiMaggio||CF||1936-42, 1946-51||3 (NL)||9|
|Stan Musial||OF/1B||1941-44, 1946-63||3 (AL)||3|
|Yogi Berra||C/OF||1946-63, 1965||3 (NL)||10|
|Mickey Mantle||CF/1B||1951-1968||3 (NL)||7|
|Albert Pujols||1B/LF/3B||2001-||3 (AL)||2|
|Lou Gehrig||1B||1923-1939||2 (NL)||6|
|Mickey Cochrane||C||1925-1937||2 (NL)||3|
|Hank Greenberg||1B/LF||1930, 1933-41, 1945-47||2 (NL)||2|
|Frank Robinson||OF/1B||1956-1976||2 (AL and NL)||2|
|Roger Maris||RF||1957-1968||2 (NL)||3|
|Joe Morgan||2B||1963-1984||2 (AL)||2|
|Johnny Bench||C/3B/1B||1967-1983||2 (AL)||2|
Totals and takeaways
|Sport||# of players to win MVP||Players with multiple MVPs||MVPs who won a championship||MVPs without championship||MVP never played in championship|
|NFL||47*||9 (19.14%)||25 (53.19%)||22 (46.80%)||9 (19.14%)|
|NBA||33||13 (39.39%)||26 (78.78%)||7 (21.21%)||2 (6.06%)|
|NHL||58||18 (31.03%)||46 (79.31%)||12 (20.68%)||6 (10.34%)|
|MLB (Total)||151*||31* (20.52%)||94* (62.91%)||57 (37.7%)||29 (19.20%)|
*In 1997 (Brett Farve and Barry Sanders) and 2003 (Peyton Manning and Steve McNair) both won that year’s MVP award as they finished in a tie.
*In 1979 the NL MVP race ended in a tie with Keith Hernandez and Willie Stargell sharing the award.
*Frank Robinson counted once towards number of players to win MVP for NL and AL. Only counted once for MLB total, hence the one player difference. Same for MVPs who won a championship. Also counted for multi-MVP total since he has one from both leagues.
MVP Winners with 7+ Championships, plus top two for the NFL
|Player||Sport||Career Span||# of MVPs||# of Championships|
|Yogi Berra||MLB (AL)||1946-63, 1965||3||10|
|Joe DiMaggio||MLB (AL)||1936-42, 1946-51||3||9|
|Mickey Mantle||MLB (AL)||1951-1968||3||7|
|Babe Ruth||MLB (AL)||1914-1935||1||7|
|Phil Rizzuto||MLB (AL)||1941-42, 1946-56||1||7|
Russell spent his entire career with the Boston Celtics. Beliveau and Richard both spent their entire careers with the Montreal Canadiens. Berra, DiMaggio, Mantle, and Rizzuto spent their entire career playing for the Yankees.
Ruth is the only one who played for different teams. He played for the Boston Red Sox (1914-19), then the New York Yankees (1920-34) before spending his final season with the Boston (now Atlanta) Braves.
The two NFL players with the most are Tom Brady (5 Super Bowls) and Bart Starr (2 Super Bowls, 3 NFL Championships), who both have five championships. Like the other players in the table, Starr played his entire career with the Green Bay Packers while Brady has done the same so far with the New England Patriots.
*I did not count Starr’s (or anyone else’s) NFL Championships during the four-year span it overlapped with the Super Bowl.
The players with 4+ MVPs
|Player||Sport||Career Span||# of MVPs||# of Championships|
|Barry Bonds||MLB (NL)||1986-2007||7||0|
|Kareem Abdul Jabbar||NBA||1969-1989||6||6|
|Michael Jordan||NBA||1984-93, 1994-1998, 2001-2003||5||6|
Out of the players to have not won a championship in each sport, a total of 19/98 of them are currently playing. Broken down for each sport it is 3/7 for the NBA, 3/22 (NFL), 4/10 (NHL) and 9/57 (MLB).
Only 10 players have won multiple MVPs and never won a championship, with eight of them being from MLB and two from the NBA. Mike Trout is the only one of these players currently playing. Barry Bonds is the only player in the four major sports to have 3 or more MVPs and never won a championship.
Only eleven players across the four major sports have won multiple championships and MVPs but ended up with more MVPs. It has happened six times in the NHL but only five times (Peyton Manning, LeBron James, Wilt Chamberlain, Albert Pujols, Jimmie Foxx) in the other three sports.
Out of the 98 MVPs who never won a championship, 48 of them never played in one. 37 of them only made it there once and lost. That means only 13 (13.26%) got at least a second crack at winning a championship and failed. 12 of these times happened in the NFL or MLB, with it only happening once in the NBA and never in the NHL.
|Player||Sport||Career||# of MVPs||Championship Record|
|Terry Pendleton||MLB||1984-1998||1||0-5 (13-20)|
|Gabby Hartnett||MLB||1922-1941||1||0-4 (3-16)|
|Ty Cobb||MLB||1905-1928||1||0-3 (4-12-1)|
|Larry Doyle||MLB||1907-1920||1||0-3 (6-12-1)|
|Phil Cavarretta||MLB||1934-1955||1||0-3 (5-12)|
|Karl Malone||NBA||1985-2004||2||0-3 (5-12)|
|Bobby Shantz||MLB||1949-1964||1||0-2 (6-8)|
|Carl Yastrzemski||MLB||1961-1983||1||0-2 (6-8)|
|Josh Hamilton||MLB||2007-2015||1||0-2 (4-8)|
Karl Malone is the only player in the four major sports to win multiple MVPs, play in multiple championships and never win one. This included losing consecutive NBA Finals with the Jazz in 1997 and 1998.
Terry Pendelton lost five championships, with three of those World Series loses coming in game seven. Two of those were with the St. Louis Cardinals and three with the Atlanta Braves, including back-to-back losses in 1991 and 1992. He was on the Braves from 1991-94 and traded back to them in 1996. The one year he was not on the team in 1995, they won the World Series.
Thurman Thomas made it to four consecutive Super Bowls with the Buffalo Bills (1990-93) and lost all of them.
Ty Cobb lost three straight World Series (1907-09) with the Detroit Tigers and Larry Doyle lost three straight with the New York (now San Francisco) Giants (1911-13). Y.A. Tittle lost three straight NFL Championship games with the New York Giants (1961-63).
Frank Tarkenton and Alan Page both lost three Super Bowls in four years with the Minnesota Vikings in 1973, 1974 and 1976.
Josh Hamilton lost back-to-back World Series with the Rangers in 2010 and 2011.
Sources and Info:
Used Google Spreadsheet to make all charts and tables