But for a single voter, Yaz would be a unanimous MVP, the Red Sox release an outfielder, and a former prospect turns a year older
Events of Note: Carl Yastrzemski, who has won the Triple Crown by hitting .326/.418/.622 with 44 home runs and 121 runs batted in, becomes the near-unanimous choice for American League Most Valuable Player in 1967. Near-unanimous, because Minnesota Twin Cesar Tovar received a single first-place vote. To make things more... well, annoying... Tovar finished seventh in the vote overall. Harmon Killebrew, Bill Freehan, Joe Horlen, Al Kaline, Jim Lonborg, and Jim Fregosi all finished ahead of Tovar in the voting, yet none of them received a single first-place vote.
Tovar had hit .267/.325/.365 as the Twins every-day utility player. He was certainly valuable for his versatility (especially since his line translated to a near-average 97 OPS+), but Max Nichols of the Minneapolis Star was going a little overboard with this symbolic choice from his local nine. Wins above replacement aren't great when talking about small differences in players, but there was a 10-win gap between Yaz's campaign and Tovar's. Ten. Wins. If that's not your cup of analytical tea, know that Yasztremski's 193 OPS+ ranks as the 66th-best all-time in a single-season. You can figure out, without digging up just where Tovar ranks, that his own production was just a wee bit lower on the historical scale.
To Tovar's credit, he publicly said he would have voted for Yaz to make the AL MVP race as unanimous as it deserved to be. And honestly, more players like Tovar, who could play well at nearly every position, every day, would be great. But unlike Nichols, let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Transactions: On this date in 1948, the Red Sox released Wally Moses. Moses had come to Boston during the 1946 season, when the Red Sox purchased him from the White Sox in July. He would hit just .250/.322/.365 for Boston, playing part-time in right field. Moses had a few big seasons, such as when he led the AL in doubles in 1945, or when he slugged 25 homers in 1937, the only time in his career in which he had even double-digits for the long ball. By the time he got to Boston, though, his best days were long behind him.
Moses would sign with Philadelphia shortly after his release, and play for another three seasons. While he was a solid part-time contributor for the first two seasons, he gave a lot of it back in his final campaign, where he hit just .191/.304/.235.
Birthdays: Craig Hansen, former Red Sox reliever and first-round draft selection, turns 29 today. Hansen has been out of the majors since 2009, and spent the 2012 season in the Mets system, pitching for short-season Brooklyn and Low-A Savannah. Hansen started his professional career with excellent stuff, but his tendency to walk hitters only grew with time and promotions, forcing him first to Pittsburgh, who could afford to take a chance on him, and finally to the minors, where he remains to this day.