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Steve Nash, 2005 NBA MVP: Sure, his 15.5 points per game is the lowest average for an MVP since Wes Unseld in 1969, but the Suns did jump from 29 wins to 62 wins and runner-up Shaq was hardly an obvious selection.
Rich Gannon, 2002 NFL MVP: The Raiders led the NFL in points and reached the Super Bowl as Gannon led the NFL with 4,689 passing yards.
Karl Malone, 1997 NBA MVP: Cited as another example of the voters bypassing Michael Jordan, Malone actually had the best PER of his career (No. 1 in the NBA) and Utah won 64 games. Of course, MJ got his revenge.
Terry Pendleton, 1991 NL MVP: Pendleton interrupted Barry Bonds' MVP run of 1990, '92-93, but his numbers (.319-22-86) weren't as pedestrian then as they look now. And don't chalk it up as a one-year fluke: He finished second in the MVP voting the following season.
Jeff Burroughs, 1974 AL MVP: Burroughs won in part because Joe Rudi, Sal Bando and Reggie Jackson of the A's finished 2-3-4 in the voting. But the Rangers jumped from 57 to 84 wins and Burroughs was third in the AL in OBP and slugging and first in RBI.