Fun list/idea from Aaron Gleeman of Hardball Talk: The best MVP pairings ever, based on their stature in MLB history, not their numbers for that specific season. His top five:
1946: Ted Williams, Stan Musial
1957: Mickey Mantle, Henry Aaron
1986: Roger Clemens, Mike Schmidt
1990: Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson
2003: Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez
Depending on how you feel about Clemens, Bonds and A-Rod, you may disagree with Aaron's list. Some other possible combos to consider:
2005: Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez
1980: Mike Schmidt, George Brett
1973: Pete Rose, Reggie Jackson
1966: Roberto Clemente, Frank Robinson
1954: Willie Mays, Yogi Berra
Which leads to the question: Which are the weakest pairings? My top five:
1952: Hank Sauer and Bobby Shantz. Sauer was one of the oddest MVP choices ever, a 35-year-old, slow left fielder for an under-.500 Cubs team who hit .270. But he led the league in home runs and RBIs and he, 28-game winner Robin Roberts and rookie reliever Joe Black of the pennant-winning Dodgers (15-4, 2.15 ERA) split the first-place votes. Roberts, Jackie Robinson or Stan Musial was probably the deserving winner. Shantz was a little lefty who went 24-7 with a 2.48 ERA for the A's. He actually did lead the AL in WAR that year, so he was a solid choice. He went 119-99 in his career while Sauer, who wasn't a full-time player until his 30s, had a career WAR of 26.0.
1926: Bob O'Farrell and George Burns. Not the comedian. The rules were a little different then and if you'd won before, you weren't eligible. O'Farrell was the catcher for the NL champion Cardinals while Burns was a first baseman who hit .358 and led the league in hits. Neither was a particularly inspired choice, even given the voting limitations.
1974: Steve Garvey and Jeff Burroughs. Both good players, but two non-Hall of Famers. Garvey ranked 17th among NL position players that year (the Dodgers won their division) while Burroughs ranked 27th among AL position players (but led the league in RBIs).
1996: Ken Caminiti and Juan Gonzalez. Umm ...
It's interesting; most seasons, we do have at least one Hall of Famer or future Hall of Famer. Three other years where that's not the case: 1960, Dick Groat and Roger Maris; 1985, Willie McGee and Don Mattingly; 1988, Kirk Gibson and Jose Canseco. (And 1971, with Joe Torre and Vida Blue if you count Torre as a manager.) Joey Votto and Josh Hamilton could end up as another non-Hall of Fame pair.