With the signing of 2020 NL MVP Freddie Freeman, the Dodgers’ star-studded lineup and roster just got even scarier. If all goes according to plan, Freeman will be one of four MVP winners to play for the Dodgers in '22, alongside '18 AL MVP Mookie Betts, '19 NL MVP Cody Bellinger and '14 NL MVP Clayton Kershaw.
In other words, that first Kershaw start, with the other three as lineup regulars, will be particularly stacked in terms of prior accolades.
How rare is it for a team to have four MVP winners appear in a single season? Glad you asked.
The 2022 Dodgers will be the fifth team to have four MVPs appear for them in a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Here’s a look at the prior four instances.
That’s right -- the Dodgers did this just last season. The cast was almost the same, with 2005 and 2008-09 NL MVP winner Albert Pujols instead of Freeman. Pujols joined the Dodgers on May 17, becoming the fourth MVP on the roster. All four appeared in the same game together five times, a feat that is of course made harder to accomplish by the fact that Kershaw is a starting pitcher. For what it’s worth, the Dodgers were 4-1 in those games.
But of course, the real question is whether that MVP power led to a title. After winning the NL Wild Card Game and the NL Division Series, the Dodgers lost in the NL Championship Series in six games to the eventual World Series-winning Braves.
1996 Red Sox
The Sox began the season with 1986 AL MVP Roger Clemens, '88 AL MVP Jose Canseco, '89 NL MVP Kevin Mitchell and '95 AL MVP Mo Vaughn, but the four didn’t stay together too long. Mitchell, in his first year with Boston, played in just 27 games, hampered by injuries to both hamstrings, before he was traded to the Reds on July 30. The quartet played in five games together, with the Red Sox losing all five.
The team went 85-77, finishing third in the AL East.
The 1982 season was the first of five years with the Angels for '73 AL MVP Reggie Jackson. Upon his arrival, he joined '77 AL MVP Rod Carew, '75 AL MVP (and Rookie of the Year!) Fred Lynn and '79 AL MVP Don Baylor, all of whom had already played together. The four appeared in 111 regular-season games together and went 60-51.
The '82 season yielded the second postseason appearance in Angels franchise history. The Halos lost in the ALCS in five games to the Brewers. Baylor was a free agent after the year and signed with the Yankees, ending the pairing of these four on the same team.
When George Foster won the 1977 NL MVP, he joined a trio of teammates who had also won MVP Awards -- and all recently with the same club. That meant that the '78 Reds entered the season with Foster, plus '73 NL MVP Pete Rose, '75-76 NL MVP Joe Morgan and '70 and '72 NL MVP Johnny Bench. The Big Red Machine, indeed. The Reds played 99 games with all four MVPs appearing and went 52-47.
The team went 92-69, finishing 2 1/2 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. Rose was a free agent after the season and signed with the Phillies, ending a season-long run for this quartet as MVP winners on the same team.