The Chalmers Award, 1911-14, is the earliest one now recognized as an official Most Valuable Player Award, and the only one from the Deadball Era. (The now-recognized MVP Awards resume with the American League Award in 1922.) In 1910, the Chalmers Motor Company offered an automobile to the player with the highest batting average in the major leagues; the result was a "batting race" scandal. For the next four years, Chalmers awarded one auto to the player in each league who "should prove himself as the most important and useful player to his club and to the league at large in point of deportment and value of services rendered" [quoted by Bill Deane].
A committee of baseball writers designed the voting structure. One writer from each league city voted for 8 players, ranked 1st to 8th; votes were counted as 8, 7, 6, down to 1 points. Thus 64 points for Ty Cobb in 1911 represents a unanimous selection, the only one. Although seven of eight winners earned at least a 75% share, several of the Chalmers votes were close. Modern MVP votes are not so close, mainly because a large premium is now counted for each 1st-place vote.
Notes are continued at the foot of the table.
1911 winners "Cobb and Schulte voluntarily withdrew from the competition in 1912, although Cobb received 17 points anyway" [Deane].
Details of Vote, Chalmers Award (MVP 1911-14)1911 AL (pennant: PHI) NL (pennant: NY) T.Cobb DET(2d) 64 F.Schulte CHI(2d) 29 E.Walsh CHI 35 C.Mathewson NY 25 E.Collins PHI 32 L.Doyle NY 23 J.Jackson CLE 28 H.Wagner PIT 23 W.Johnson WAS 19 G.Alexander PHI 23 B.Cree NY 16 M.Huggins STL 21 T.Speaker BOS 16 F.Merkle NY 19 I.Thomas PHI 12 R.Marquard NY 19 C.Milan WAS 10 J.Daubert BKN 16 V.Gregg CLE 9 J.Tinker CHI 11 F.Baker PHI 8 C.Meyers NY 11 J.Coombs PHI 6 J.Sheckard CHI 9 N.Lajoie CLE 5 M.Mitchell CIN 9 J.Knight NY 4 M.Doolan PHI 6 S.Crawford DET 4 B.Harmon STL 6 B.Lord PHI 4 J.Archer CHI 5 D.Bush DET 4 H.Lobert PHI 4 R.Ford NY 3 G.Gibson PIT 4 J.Barry PHI 3 M.Brown CHI 4 J.Austin STL 2 B.Bescher CIN 4 F.LaPorte STL 2 B.Sweeney BOS 3 S.McInnis PHI 1 O.Knabe PHI 2 G.McBride WAS 1 E.Konetchy STL 2 D.Hoblitzell CIN 2 J.Walsh PHI 2 J.Devore NY 2 F.Luderus PHI 1 J.Kling BOS 1 B.Adams PIT 1 N.Rucker BKN 1
1912 AL (pennant: BOS) NL (pennant: NY) T.Speaker BOS 59 L.Doyle NY 48 E.Walsh CHI 30 H.Wagner PIT 43 W.Johnson WAS 28 C.Meyers NY 25 C.Milan WAS 23 J.Tinker CHI 22 J.Wood BOS 22 B.Bescher CIN 17 E.Collins PHI 18 B.Sweeney BOS 16 F.Baker PHI 17 H.Zimmerman CHI 16 T.Cobb DET 17 R.Marquard NY 13 J.Jackson CLE 16 O.Wilson PIT 13 H.Wagner BOS 12 J.Daubert BKN 13 C.Gandil WAS 7 O.Knabe PHI 10 B.Shotton STL 6 E.Konetchy STL 8 D.Pratt STL 5 C.Mathewson NY 8 E.Foster WAS 4 D.Paskert PHI 6 L.Gardner BOS 4 J.Tesreau NY 6 S.Crawford DET 4 R.Murray NY 5 J.Barry PHI 4 M.Huggins STL 5 B.Carrigan BOS 3 A.Marsans CIN 4 G.Moriarty DET 3 F.Merkle NY 4 J.Birmingham CLE 2 J.Evers CHI 2 D.Moeller WAS 1 C.Hendrix PIT 2 G.McBride WAS 1 J.Archer CHI 1 S.McInnis PHI 1 G.Alexander PHI 1 B.Daniels NY 1 1913 AL (pennant: PHI) NL (pennant: NY) W.Johnson WAS(2d) 54 J.Daubert BKN(6th)50 J.Jackson CLE 43 G.Cravath PHI 40 E.Collins PHI 30 R.Maranville BOS 23 T.Speaker BOS 26 C.Mathewson NY 21 F.Baker PHI 21 C.Meyers NY 20 C.Gandil WAS 14 V.Saier CHI 15 S.McInnis PHI 12 L.Cheney CHI 12 W.Schang PHI 11 D.Miller PIT 11 C.Milan WAS 8 H.Wagner PIT 11 J.Barry PHI 8 J.Evers CHI 10 N.Lajoie CLE 7 T.Seaton PHI 9 D.Bush DET 6 A.Fletcher NY 7 H.Wagner BOS 6 J.Archer CHI 6 R.Russell CHI 5 M.Doolan PHI 6 B.Shotton STL 5 B.Sweeney BOS 6 G.McBride WAS 5 J.Viox PIT 6 J.Scott CHI 5 L.Doyle NY 5 G.Stovall STL 5 T.Shafer NY 5 S.Crawford DET 4 R.Murray NY 4 T.Cobb DET 3 H.Zimmerman CHI 4 R.Schalk CHI 3 O.Knabe PHI 4 C.Bender PHI 2 B.Adams PIT 3 T.Turner CLE 2 G.Cutshaw BKN 3 S.O'Neill CLE 2 G.Burns NY 2 H.Hooper BOS 1 A.Marsans CIN 2 B.Humphries CHI 2 M.Brown CIN 1 1914 AL (pennant: PHI) NL (pennant: BOS) E.Collins PHI 63 J.Evers BOS 50 S.Crawford DET 35 R.Maranville BOS 44 D.Bush DET 17 B.James BOS 33 F.Baker PHI 17 G.Burns NY 31 J.Jackson CLE 15 J.Miller STL 18 R.Schalk CHI 13 J.Tesreau NY 15 E.Foster WAS 11 D.Rudolph BOS 14 B.Weaver CHI 11 S.Magee PHI 14 S.McInnis PHI 11 Z.Wheat BKN 10 D.Pratt STL 10 G.Alexander PHI 9 W.Schang PHI 10 R.Bresnahan CHI 6 T.Speaker BOS 9 L.Magee STL 6 T.Walker STL 9 B.Doak STL 5 T.Cobb DET 7 J.Viox PIT 5 E.Scott BOS 7 A.Fletcher NY 5 J.Barry PHI 6 C.Mathewson NY 4 D.Leonard BOS 6 V.Saier CHI 4 E.Plank PHI 5 B.Schmidt BOS 4 G.McBride WAS 5 J.Daubert BKN 4 D.Lewis BOS 4 L.McCarty BKN 3 H.Hooper BOS 4 H.Groh CIN 2 F.Maisel NY 3 T.Clarke CIN 1 R.Peckinpaugh NY 2 G.Cravath PHI 1 C.Milan WAS 2 S.Agnew STL 2 R.Hartzell NY 2 E.Cicotte CHI 1 G.Moriarty DET 1 American League National League
Pitchers. One of eight Chalmers awards honored a pitcher, Walter Johnson 1913. Pitchers dominate Bill Deane's "hypothetical" MVP awards, for those Deadball Era seasons not covered by Chalmers, and pitchers dominate the retroactive Rookie of the Year awards for the Deadball Era. Maybe deadball pitching statistics are an attractive nuisance to modern eyes.
Champions. Four Chalmers awards honored someone on the pennant-winning team, three someone on the second-place team, and one honored Jake Daubert from the 6th-place 1913 Brooklyn Dodgers. Gavy Cravath dominated the league at bat, for the 2d-place 1913 Philadelphia Phillies, and finished second in the Chalmers vote.
Chalmers panel. Bill James has described and applauded the work of the Chalmers panel.
The Chalmers company decided to base its award --the automobile-- upon a poll of sportswriters . . .Mulford chose eleven baseball writers, one from each major league city, recognizing both Brooklyn and New York.
The voting structure that they decided upon . . . has evolved to be, as it is today, the best voting structure in baseball. Chalmers agreed to make the award on the basis of a committee decision, with the committee to be selected by Mr. Ren Mulford, who was the Cincinnati correspondent for The Sporting Life.
Chalmers Award committee, 1911 (with changes 1912, 1913) Ren Mulford, Cincinnati, chairman Tim Murnane, Boston Globe Abe Yager, Brooklyn Eagle I.E. Sanborn, Chicago Tribune Jack Ryder, Cincinnati Enquirer Harry P. Edwards, Cleveland Plaindealer Joe Smith, Detroit Journal --> ? Salsinger (1912) John B. Foster, New York Telegram --> Grantland Rice (1913) James C. Isaminger, Philadelphia North-American Charles B. Power, Pittsburgh Gazette-Times --> Ralph Davis (1913) M.F. Parker, St. Louis Globe-Democrat --> Harry Neily (1913) Joe S. Jackson, Washington Post --> J.Ed Grillo (1913)The committee designed the method of rank-order voting and counting points (described above). There were eight electors for each Award, the eight panelists with a home team in the league. So Murnane, Sanborn, Foster, Isaminger, and Parker voted for both league Awards; the other six members each voted for one of the two Awards.
Chalmers made four changes in the committee for 1913. The report in Sporting Life (1913-05-19 p16) names seven incumbents including Salsinger, so I have listed him as a new member for 1912.
Acknowledgments. Steve Constantelos provided the detail vote in digital format. Bill Deane, "Awards and Honors", Total Baseball (any edition, 1989-). Bill James, "Honors", The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, 2d ed., 1988, p167-79.