Major League Baseball has announced that the World Series Most Valuable Player award will now be named after it’s greatest five-tool player, Willie Mays.
The league made the announcement last Friday which was the 63rd anniversary of “The Catch” Mays made in Game 1of the 1954 World Series. That play has been one of, if not the most, iconic images in MLB history.
“Major League Baseball is thrilled to honor Willie Mays on our game’s biggest stage and in a manner that befits his many contributions to the sport,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement on Friday. “Since making ‘The Catch’ on Sept. 29, 1954, Willie has been a part of World Series history. This annual recognition will forever celebrate the life and career of a legend of the national pastime.”
It has been debated forever who is the greatest baseball player in the history of the game. If you took a poll, plenty of people would say Mays is at the top of their list. He finished his 22-year career with a .303 batting average, 660 home runs (Fifth all-time), and 3,283 hits (11th all-time). He was voted to 22 All-Star games, won two MVPs, and 12 Gold Gloves.
63 years ago, he made “The Catch.”
— MLB (@MLB) September 29, 2017
He may have been first in home runs had he not lost two years to military service during the prime of his career.
Mays appeared in four World Series as a player for the Giants but only captured one title. Mays probably would have been given the World Series MVP award had they given them out in 1954 – the award wasn’t given out until 1955. He batted .286 with three RBI and four runs scored. But more importantly, he saved the Giants from potentially losing Game 1 with ‘The Catch’.
It’s surprising that an award hasn’t been named after Mays by this point. Hank Aaron has already had an award named after him, which is given to the top hitter in each league.
It’s good to finally see Mays further immortalized in baseball history.