3. Because he won two MVP Awards ... but should have won eight.
* 1955: Led NL in home runs, slugging and OPS while finishing second in batting average, runs and RBIs. Finished fourth in the voting behind Roy Campanella, whose Dodgers won the pennant.
* 1958: Led NL in OPS, runs and stolen bases while ranking second in batting average and slugging. Finished second to Ernie Banks, primarily due to Banks’ 129 to 96 edge in RBIs. Was Mays not clutch that year? Hardly. He hit .325 with runners in scoring position, .371 with men on base and .408 in “late and close” situations. The problem was the Giants didn’t have many men on base in front of him: their leadoff and No. 2 hitters both had a .315 OBP.
* 1960: Finished third behind Dick Groat and Don Hoak of the first-place Pirates. They were close to Mays in value. I mean, when added together.
* 1962: Maury Wills edged Mays in the voting, a stunning result in retrospect. Wills scored 130 runs (the same as Mays) ... but drove in 93 fewer. Mays’ Giants even won the tiebreaker over Wills’ Dodgers, but Wills swiped the headlines by breaking Ty Cobb’s single-season stolen base record.
* 1963: Finished fifth as Sandy Koufax went 25-5 to win. Dick Groat finished second in the vote with six home runs. Man, did the writers love Dick Groat or what? Koufax and Aaron had good cases, but I’d have given the nod to Mays.
* 1964: Finished sixth in the voting even though Dick Allen was the player within two wins of him in overall value. Led NL in home runs, OPS and scored 121 runs (second) and didn’t receive one first-place vote.
So that’s eight. You could also make strong cases for him in 1957, 1961 and 1966. So he could have won 11. But that would have been quite boring.