No. 5: Jim Rice, 1978
Possibly the most underrated MVP award on this list, Jim Rice was an absolute menace in 1978. Let me give you the rundown of the categories Rice led in 1978: games played, plate appearances, at-bats, hits, triples, home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+, and total bases. Rice's 1978 campaign satisfies both the baseball purists and the analytic nerds' perceptions of the game and player value.
Rice's main competition for the award this year was Yankees starter Ron Guidry, who generated more WAR than Rice (Guidry ended with 9.6 WAR, while Rice had 7.6 WAR). Rice's ability to produce at such a high level while playing all 163 games for the Red Sox this season had to have been the difference-maker in the final vote. If I learned anything from my little league coach, the best ability is availability, and Rice showed that in spades in 1978. Although it might be a season that is forgotten in the grander sense of baseball history, Rice in '78 was truly dominant.