First of all, I grew up in an era during which every player on a Little League team received a trophy. There were not MVPs, but most improved, sportsmanship, and Bob Loblaw’s Law Blog. So it’s odd to me to see that Greenwell was the MVP of his squad and that he remembered the fact until he was 22.
What this instantly reminded me of was Greenwell’s 1988 season. As a 24-year-old, Greenwell hit .325, posted a .416 OBP and slugged .531. He would be a distant runner-up in the MVP voting to Mr. 40/40 (no, not Jay-Z) Jose Canseco.
Five years ago, after all of the steroids and PED hubbub, Greenwell made a somewhat bitter case that he should be awarded the 1988 MVP. Did he lose a few million dollars because of it? Probably. Did he already get paid more than most people will make in a lifetime? Absolutely (he made over $21 million in his career).
Life, quite simply, is enjoyable because it isn’t fair. If life were fair for everyone, it’d be dull. Why do Americans enjoy the underdog story so much? Mostly, because the underdog doesn’t have all the advantages that the favored team or boxer might have.
Greenwell was a splendid player, but he never really was an MVP. In fact, in 1988, Greenwell would trail Wade Boggs, Canseco and Mark Gubicza and tie Kirby Puckett in wins above replacement player according to Baseball Reference. So, if we’re being completely fair, it is Wade Boggs who should be all annoyed at Canseco.
For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.