The big news lately is Alex Rodriguez’s admission to using steroids.  What if Major League Baseball took the MVP trophies away from all the steroid users/accused?  Then Carlos Delgado is your 2003 American League MVP.

I’m not suggesting that Major League Baseball should take MVP trophies away.  I don’t think they should.  Trophies are just a piece of metal.  I can decide in my mind who is MVP of any given year, even if it doesn’t coincide with who was nominated.  Heck, Mike Piazza has been the 1997 National League MVP in my mind since the day the voting was announced.  And now Carlos Delgado is the 2003 American League MVP.

The biggest shame of the steroid era is that there are some players that will probably never get their due because they were overshadowed by cheaters.  Players like Luis Gonzalez, Moises Alou and Delgado will probably never be thought of as highly as they probably should because they would all have MVP trophies if you eliminated those that have used or have been accused of using steroids.

Maybe Mets fans are pretty familiar with Carlos Delgado because having him on the team lead them to looking him up, but Delgado was a pretty underrated player before coming to New York.  Of course, that’s mainly because he played in the underrated capital of the American League, Toronto.

Many fans around the league don’t realize that Carlos Delgado has been a 30-40 Home Run and 100 – 120 RBI player for most of his career.  Carlos Delgado did finish second in voting to Alex Rodriguez in 2003 but you could make an argument for him even without eliminating A-Rod due to steroids.  Delgado knocked in almost 30 more runs than A-Rod and A-Rod scored about 10 more times.  A-Rod had more home runs, steals, and slugging but Delgado had a higher batting average, OBP and OPS.  A-Rod played a more important position, but Delgado played a part of a winning team.

Carlos Delgado’s best season wasn’t even 2003 though.  Carlos Delgado had his best season in 2000.  In 2000 Carlos Delgado played all 162 games of the season for the first time in his career, ranked 2nd in OBP, SLG and OPS, he had more total bases than anybody and also led the Majors in runs created.  Jason Giambi ended up winning the 2000 AL MVP, mainly just because he hit 2 more home runs than Carlos Delgado, but really Giambi wasn’t even the best first baseman in the American League.

Jason Giambi has also played in 5 All-Star games while Carlos Delgado has only played in 2.  How a player of Giambi’s caliber gets in that many and Delgado doesn’t, I’ll never know.  Well, other than the cities they played in.

But that was how the story of Carlos Delgado’s life before New York was.  It seems like every year most fans know which players are creeping up on 500 home runs that season but this year I haven’t heard a single person point out that Delgado is only 31 home runs away.

If you asked the average Major League Baseball fan to list the 10 active players with the most career home runs or RBI then most people would guess Ken Griffey Jr. Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and maybe Gary Sheffield and Chipper Jones.  But not many people would guess that Carlos Delgado ranks 6th or 7th (depending on whether Frank Thomas is still considered active) among active players in both career home runs and RBI.

Maybe it’s because of Carlos Delgado’s low profile career that most people are down on him this season and are assuming he’ll be gone after this season.  If the 2007 season and the first half of 2008 was really due to injuries then why can’t Carlos Delgado continue to hit 30 home runs and 100+ RBI for a few more seasons?