For the first 12 years of Brewer franchise history, the AL MVP trophy did not come to Milwaukee. A handful of Brewers had truly great seasons over that time (Tommy Harper, Robin Yount, Cecil Cooper, George Scott and Ben Oglivie all had seasons B-Ref values above six wins above replacement), but no one was honored as the league's Most Valuable Player until Rollie Fingers was announced as the winner on this day in 1981.
Fingers, a relief pitcher, was also the league's Cy Young Award winner. He posted a 1.04 ERA over 47 appearances, saving 28 of the Brewers' 62 wins (in a strike-shortened season). He allowed just nine runs all season and became the first reliever ever to win the award.
Fingers narrowly edged out Oakland speedster Rickey Henderson for the trophy, with Red Sox outfielder Dwight Evans a distant third:
Fingers is still the only Brewer pitcher ever to win the award.
With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to 1989-90 Brewer Randy Veres. He turns 46.
Today is also the sixth anniversary of a 2006 trade that sent Doug Davis to the Diamondbacks in exchange for pitcher Claudio Vargas and catcher Johnny Estrada. We covered that event in this space last year.