Many of Major League Baseball's annual player awards are awarded to two players, one each in the American and National Leagues. (For instance, MVP, Cy Young, Silver Slugger, Rookie of the Year, etc.)

If a player plays in both leagues in a single season (perhaps due to a midseason trade), how is it determined which league's awards he is eligible for? Is it based on games played, days under contract, his affiliation as of a certain date, or something else?

If such a player turns out to be eligible for one league's award, can his performance in the other league be considered towards the award?

(I realize some of these awards are selected by different organizations which may have different rules, but it would be nice to know about as many as possible.)

2 Answers 2


You're right to point out that these awards come from different organizations and that each may have different rules, but if you're looking for a general rule of thumb: to win an award for either the National or American league, a player should play the majority of the games for that season in that league.

Even meeting the criteria of having played a majority of games won't make it easy though. "No player switching leagues has ever won an MVP award and only one, Rick Sutcliffe of the 1984 Cubs, has won a Cy Young. Sutcliffe went 16-1 in 20 starts after the Cubs acquired him from Cleveland".

For the MVP award, the number of games played is actually the number 2 criteria given to voters (I'm assuming that means number of games played in the given league).

There are specific qualifications to be eligible for the Golden Glove awards, for example

All pitchers must have pitched in at least 137 innings by his team’s 137th game

All infielders and outfielders must have played in the field for at least 690 total innings through his team’s 137th game: this equates to playing in the field for approximately 7.5 innings per game in approximately 67% of his team’s games by his team’s 137th game; this ensures that only full-time players are considered);

It doesn't say it explicitly, but I assume that by his team, they kind of mean for it to be a single team in a specific league to qualify for that league.

As to whether or not voters can consider performance in the other league that happened before a trade, I found a couple articles about Manny Ramirez and CC Sabathia, both traded in 2008, that suggest that only games in the awarding league matter.


For counting stats, like HRs, if you lead the league, you lead the league, regardless of the number of games that you play, but only the HRs you hit in the NL count toward that award. For cumulative stats, like batting average, whatever number of ABs you are short to qualify are added to your total ABs for that league and if you still lead the league, you win the title. This happened to Willie McGee one year, when he was traded from the Cardinals late in the season to the As. It takes 3.1 ABs (actually PAs) per game to qualify or 502 per season. Let's say Willie had 460 PA for the Cards and was hitting .360. If you added 42 PAs to his total and he still leads the league with a .331 avg., he gets the award.

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