How reliever with 3.92 ERA got an MVP vote

November 13th, 2020

If you saw the Twitter reaction to the fact that Cubs reliever received a National League Most Valuable Player Award vote Thursday night, you know that a collective incredulity was making its way around the baseball world. After all, Tepera didn't open the season on Chicago's roster and finished with a 3.92 ERA over 20 2/3 innings. He walked 12 of the 89 batters he faced.

So what happened?

Hall of Fame writer Rick Hummel, who has covered the Cardinals for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for nearly four decades, mistakenly selected the wrong player on the Baseball Writers' Association of America NL MVP Award ballot. The ballot is completed online and includes a drop-down menu for selecting players. When Hummel was making his 10th-place vote, he accidentally selected Tepera instead of another nearby name on the list.

“Well, I intended to vote for Trea Turner in that spot," Hummel explained to's Anne Rogers. "In fact, I remember thinking a lot about putting two guys in from the last-place Nationals, with Juan Soto also on my ballot. But I must have clicked on the wrong name in the drop-down list and I didn’t catch it on the confirmation email. I did like it better when we wrote the names in ourselves. Lesson learned for next time around.”

Fortunately, with Tepera getting that lone vote, the outcome wasn't affected -- Hummel's first choice, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, won his first NL MVP honor, and Hummel's second choice, Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts, was the runner-up.

“I hope Trea isn’t upset, and I hope people understand," Hummel said. "It was a mistake.”

Well, if nothing else, Tepera can always say he got some MVP consideration in 2020.

“He did strike out 31 batters in 20 2/3 innings ... 13.5 strikeouts per nine!" Hummel said. "Maybe that’s why I voted for him.”