I am in love with the youth of baseball right now, especially the 2018 AL and NL Rookie of the Year award winners, Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna. But this got me thinking: which Rookie of the Year combination of the past is the best of all time? Below is the answer to that question in the form of a top five list. While making it, however, I had one rule: one RoY winner can't be the sole reason for the combo's inclusion, so Willie Mays and Gil McDougald, the 1951 winners of the award, will not appear below. Also, this list looks at the careers of former Rookie of the Year winners, not their rookie seasons. Now, without further ado, let's begin!
Honorable Mention: 2012
AL winner: Mike Trout
NL winner: Bryce Harper
Why? These two are absolute studs, but they're both so young. If I remake this list in seven years and these two MVPs remain elite, then they'll definitely jump the #5 combo on this list. Speaking of which...
AL winner: Tim Salmon
NL winner: Mike Piazza
Why? Piazza, in my opinion, is the greatest hitting catcher in baseball history. His 427 career home runs rank first among all-time catchers and his .308 lifetime batting average is unheard of for catchers of the modern era. Salmon, even though he never made an All Star Game and is the only player on this list who is either not in the Hall of Fame or probably never will be, was a fan favorite on the Angels, helping them to their first and only World Series championship in team history in 2002. During the best ten-year stretch of his 14-year career from 1992-2006 (he missed 2005 due to injury), he averaged 26 homers and 87 RBIs a season.
AL winner: Eddie Murray
NL winner: Andre Dawson
Why? Steady Eddie was one of the most consistent hitters in baseball history and is probably the most underrated hitter in the 500-3,000 club (500 homers and 3,000 hits). Dawson made a name for himself as both a member of the Expos and the Cubs, averaging 132 hits, 21 home runs, and 76 RBIs a season.
AL winner: Luis Aparicio
NL winner: Frank Robinson
Why? Aparicio started off his career by winning nine straight AL stolen base titles and totaled 506 during his time in baseball. The nine-time Gold Glover and ten-time All Star shortstop is the only Venezuelan in the Hall of Fame. Robinson is one of the more unsung sluggers of the 1950s and 1960s, totaling 586 homers and 1,812 RBIs during his 21-year career. He was the first hitter in baseball history to win the MVP in both leagues, winning it in 1961 with the pennant-winning Reds and in 1966 with the Orioles, a year in which he won the AL hitting Triple Crown.
AL winner: Ichiro Suzuki
NL winner: Albert Pujols
Why? You could consider this pick biased, but you also really can't. Ichiro was the second hitter in baseball history to win the Rookie of the Year and MVP awards in the same season and is the single-season hits champion, collecting a record 262 hits in 2004. Pujols is one of only nine hitters in baseball history with 600+ home runs and his 633 career dingers put him in sixth place on the all-time list. The three-time MVP is also one of my personal childhood heroes, so maybe I'm a little biased, but again, who wouldn't be?
AL winner: Rod Carew
NL winner: Tom Seaver
Why? Carew is the greatest contact hitter in the history of two separate franchises. During his career with the Twins and Angels, he made the All Star Game every single year except for his last and sits at 27th on the all-time hits list with 3,053 career base knocks. Seaver, plain and simple, was one of the greatest pitchers of his generation. The 12-time All Star and three-time Cy Young Award winner has a lifetime ERA of 2.86 and his 311 career wins aren't that bad, either.
What do you think of this list? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."