No. 8: Fred Lynn, 1975
The first man to ever win Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season (Ichiro is the second player, for bar trivia purposes), Fred Lynn quickly established himself as a leader on the 1975 Red Sox. On a team filled with talent, Lynn came out and asserted himself as the best of them all with his 1975 campaign, and really astonished the voters with just how good a rookie could be in the MLB.
Lynn led the AL in runs scored, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage while racking up 7.4 WAR and receiving 22 of the 24 first-place votes while playing on the AL pennant-winning Red Sox. So, why is he so low on this list?
I have Fred Lynn in at No. 8 on this list because 1975 isn't even his best season as a Red Sock. In 1979, Lynn ascended to an even more dominant height than his 1975 season. In '79, Lynn hit 39 home runs while driving in 122 runs, led the American League in batting average, slugging, and on-base percentage, and accumulated 8.9 (!) WAR with an OPS+ of 176. The narrative of the 1975 season fit better for Lynn to win the award then, but give me 1979 Fred Lynn any day of the week.