COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – For all that Robin Yount did in leading Milwaukee to the American League pennant, the Brewers' superb shortstop was everything but a guarantee for the American League Most Valuable Player award in 1982. History said so.
Yount, however, won the honor easily 29 years ago this week, with Baltimore's Eddie Murray finishing second. The award gave the Milwaukee Brewers their second straight MVP, after Rollie Fingers took home the hardware in 1981.
Twenty-seven of the 28 panelists had Yount No. 1 on their MVP ballot when the voting was announced on Nov. 9, 1982.
Before Yount in 1982, only three AL shortstops had won the MVP award: Lou Boudreau in 1948, Phil Rizzuto in 1950 and Zoilo Versalles in 1965.
An excellent fielder, Yount also was the No. 2 hitter in the league with a .331 average. But it was his performance late in the season that solidified his MVP candidacy.
All Yount did on the final Sunday on the season – when the Orioles had caught his Brewers the day before and tied the AL East race – was homer his first two times up, triple and drive in two runs as the Brewers defeated the Birds 10-2 to capture the AL East title.
Besides batting .331, Yount slammed 29 homers, drove in 114 runs, led the league with 210 hits, tied for the lead in doubles with 46, roped a dozen triples and was second in the league in runs scored with 129.
Yount, always known to be modest, accepted his election as MVP the same way he accepting his role in helping the Brewers win their first American League pennant.
"It's quite an honor. It's the type of award you can't win without help from everybody else on the team," Yount said. "When I'm 50 years old, sitting around with my kids, I'm gonna have a pile of cash over here and 1982 over there. What do you think I'll want to talk about?
"I don't get goose bumps when I open my pay envelope. But look at me when I start talking about 1982."
Jonathan Coe is the Fall 2011 Public Relations department intern at the Hall of Fame