MLB names World Series MVP Award in Honor of Willie Mays

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Major League Baseball just announced that it has renamed the World Series Most Valuable Player Award in honor of Willie Mays. Beginning with the 2017 World Series, the MVP of the Fall Classic will now be recognized as the “Willie Mays World Series Most Valuable Player.”

The announcement comes on the 63rd anniversary of “The Catch” Mays made in the 1954 World Series on a deep fly ball off of Vic Wertz in the Polo Grounds. The throw that came after it was almost as amazing. As was the fact that the Giants beat a 111-win Cleveland Indians team in four straight games.

There was no World Series MVP Award that year. It officially began in 1955, though the BBWAA’s Babe Ruth Award for the best postseason performance dates back to 1949. It still exists too but, unlike most other awards in which the BBWAA honor is seen as more prestigious than the MLB honor, no one really cares much about that while many fans can name multiple World Series MVP winners. It probably has to do with the fact that the World Series MVP Award is handed out the night of the final game of the World Series when everyone is excited whereas the Babe Ruth Award is given out weeks later after everyone is in offseason mode.

Some irony about it all? The Catch notwithstanding, Willie Mays was actually pretty terrible in the World Series. He hit a combined .239/.308/.282 in four World Series, and his teams lost three of those four Series. We’ll let that slide, though, because (a) he’s Willie Freakin’ Mays; and (b) The Catch is something far better-remembered than whoever had a great batting line in any given World Series.

Aaron Judge out of Yankees starting lineup for finale after No. 62

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Yankees slugger Aaron Judge wasn’t in the starting lineup for New York’s regular-season finale, a day after his 62nd home run that broke Roger Maris’ 61-year-old American League single-season record.

When Judge homered in the first inning Tuesday night, in the second game of a doubleheader against the Texas Rangers, it was his 55th consecutive game. He has played in 157 games overall for the AL East champions.

With the first-round bye in the playoffs, the Yankees won’t open postseason play until the AL Division Series starts next Tuesday.

Even though Judge had indicated that he hoped to play Wednesday, manager Aaron Boone said after Tuesday night’s game that they would have a conversation and see what made the most sense.

“Short conversation,” Boone said before Wednesday’s game, adding that he was “pretty set on probably giving him the day today.”

Asked if there was a scenario in which Judge would pinch hit, Boone responded, “I hope not.”

Judge went into the final day of the regular season batting .311, trailing American League batting average leader Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315. Judge was a wide leader in the other Triple Crown categories, with his 62 homers and 131 RBIs.

Boone said that “probably the one temptation” to play Judge had been the long shot chance the slugger had to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.