As great as Williams was (which does not need to be proved), he should have gotten more credit for as great of a player he was. He was never known to embrace the media and he always had a bad relationship with the fans, particularly in Boston. With the numbers that Williams put up on a year in and year out basis, it is amazing that he won just two AL MVPs during his career. He won the awards in 1946 and 1949. He also finished 2nd in the voting 4 times: in 1941, 1942, 1947 and 1957. A case can be made that he could have (and maybe should have) won the award in those four seasons as well.
In addition to his relationship with the media, Williams quietly put up similar numbers each season. The problem with that argument is the fact that he put up numbers on a consistent basis that few were putting up at that time. This was a 6 time batting champion, who led the AL in OBP 13 times, SLG 9 times and OPS 10 times. He also led the AL in OPS+ 9 times and total bases 6 years.
The first season Williams finished 2nd in the AL MVP was 1941, after his famous .406 batting average. Nobody knew at the time that it would be the last time a MLB hitter batted over .400. That was the same season that Joe DiMaggio had his famous 56 game hitting streak. Williams, that season, had a career high 1.287 OPS as he also led the AL in RS (135), HRs (37), OBP (.553), SLG (.735) and OPS+ (235). DiMaggio had a very good season, but his numbers were not better than WIlliams of 1941. DiMaggio hit (.356), 30, 125 (125 RBIs led the AL, Williams finished with 120). DiMaggio's 1.083 OPS was great, but it was over 200 points less than what Williams finished with. DiMaggio did lead the AL in total bases with 343 and had more doubles (43) than Williams (33). However, comparing the two seasons are no contest, as Williams clearly was the most valuable player. However, the Yankees won the AL Pennant (and eventually the World Series), which in today's case, may have qualified DiMaggio over Williams.
Williams followed up his 1941 season with a year that may have been considered more dominant in 1941. Williams led the AL with a .356 AVG, 36 HR, 137 RBI, 141 RS, 145 BB, .499 OBP, .648 SLG, 1.147 OPS, 216 OPS+ and 338 TB. The 1942 AL MVP went unfairly to the Yankees Joe Gordon, who did not finish ahead of Williams in a single AL category. Gordon hit .322, 18, 103 with a .900 OPS. Of course, the Yankees won the AL Pennant again. However, it was more evident that at least some of the baseball writers voted against Williams because they did not like him.
Williams finally got his MVP in 1946, when the Red Sox won their only Pennant during his career. It was also his first year back after serving in World War II and based on his numbers, it seemed he did not miss a beat. He hit .342, 38, 123. However, he did not lead the AL in any of the three categories. He led the AL in RS (142), BB (156), OBP (.497), SLG (.667), OPS (1.166), OPS+ (215) and TB (343). He beat out Detroit RHP Hal Newhouser (26-9, 1.94, 275 Ks, 1.069 WHIP) for the award.
The following season, Williams had as good, if not a better season. His .343 AVG led the AL. In fact, he won the AL Triple Crown for the second time in his career (1942) with 32, 114. He, as usual, led the AL in runs (125), BB (162), OBP (.499), SLG (.634), OPS (1.123), OPS+ (205) and TB (335). The award once again went to DiMaggio, who had a less than dominant season. The Yankees won the AL Pennant, which clearly had to be the reason DiMaggio got the award. DiMaggio hit .315, 20, 97 with 97 RS and a .913 OPS. DiMaggio failed to lead the AL in any offensive category, and if you want to use Wins Above Replacement (not one of my favorite stats), he was worth 5 runs less than Williams. In my opinion Williams got hosed more in 1947 than he did in 1942.
Williams won the MVP again in 1949. In addition to leading the AL in games played and plate appearances (career high 730 plate appearances), he led the AL in RS (150), 2B (39), HR (43), RBI (159) and walks (162). The runs scored, HR, RBI and BB were all career highs (he also had 162 walks in 1947). He hit .343 and led the AL in OBP (.490), SLG (.650), OPS (1.141), OPS+ (191) and TB (368). The total bases were also a career high. Despite the Yankees taking the AL Pennant once again, neither Phil Rizzuto nor Joe Page had seasons that could be considered comparable enough to compete for the award. However, Williams still only received 13 of the 22 first place votes.
In 1951, Williams would have another top season. He missed some time due to injury during 1950. He hit just .318, but hit 30, 126 with 109 RS and 144 BB. He once again led the AL in OBP (.464), SLG (.556), OPS (1.019), OPS+ (191) and TB (368). He finished 13th, but the well disputed award went to Yogi Berra that season. Guys like Bobby Avila and Rizzuto finished ahead of Williams, but had no business doing so based on Williams season.
Finally, in 1957, Williams finished 2nd in the vote again. He led the AL with a .388 batting average. He hit 38 HR and led also led the AL in OBP (.526) SLG (.731), OPS (1.257) and OPS+ (235). His OPS+ was the highest he had recorded since 1941. That year, Mickey Mantle hit .365, 34, 94 and actually had a higher WAR than Williams. The only one of the four 2nd place finishes a better performance beat him. It still was a phenomenal season for the Splendid Splinter.
We all know about Williams service in WWII and The Korean War. I am sure some of the writers that held such a grudge with him were some of the BBWAA writers that did not vote for him in his first season of Hall of Fame eligibility. The same crap exists today. We need to know that the writers that are voting for awards, as well as the HOF, are being objective and fair in their evaluation. Too many make it a personal thing, with some not voting for a player out of spite. Williams numbers speak for themselves. He definitely deserved to be an MVP more than 2 times.