Originally Posted by dougdirt
Most Valuable = provided the most value.
Being the best performer provides the most value.
If they had wanted to give it to the best player, they would simply have said "best player". The very fact that they used different wording suggests they were trying to convey a different meaning. That's the first rule of interpretation. And, in fact, the voters have interpreted a different meaning.
But I disagree that the best performer always provides the most value. One can actually argue that if you had two excellent players of equal offensive ability, that the player on the worse team may actually provide more value to his team as they needed him more. Or, in other words, an excellent player surrounded by other excellent players may actually make less of a positive difference to his team.
I think voters have historically looked at choosing the player they felt "his team couldn't have been successful without him". And that's a far cry from choosing who is simply the best.
IIRC, the Sporting News recognizes the "Player of the Year " in each league. That player is sometimes also the MVP, but is often not. Maybe it's time for the major leagues to have a similar award.