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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

UMaine’s Jeremy Peña 1st rookie hitter to win World Series MVP


The Astros shortstop, who attended the University of Maine from 2016-2018, hit .400 with a home run in the World Series.

Houston Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena celebrates with the trophy after a 4-1 win against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 6 of the World Series on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) The Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) — The key to Jeremy Peña’s success was keeping a dry head.

Capping off a freshman season like no other, he became the first rookie position player to win a World Series MVP award on Saturday night after hitting .400 in the Astros’ six-game win. Houston over the Philadelphia Phillies.

“The hardest part was just blocking out everything that isn’t part of the game,” Peña said. “There is a saying that you cannot sink a ship with water around it. It sinks if water enters. So I just try to stay strong and keep the water off my head.”

Peña also won a Gold Glove and was the Most Valuable Player in the American League Championship Series. The 25-year-old shortstop became the first hitter to win all three of those awards in his career, according to OptaSTATS, and he did it all in his rookie season.

“It has a lot to do with my family, my upbringing,” he said.

Peña praised Dusty Baker, the 73-year-old manager of the Astros. When Baker made his major league managerial debut with San Francisco on April 6, 1993, the other team’s leadoff hitter was Peña’s father, St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Gerónimo Peña.

“Dusty Baker is a legend in the sport,” said Jeremy Peña. “Not just because he’s been around. He has been successful in this game. He brings out the best in the players out of him. He gives you the confidence to go out there and play hard and let the game work itself out.”

Peña singled to chase down Phillies starter Zack Wheeler in Game 6, giving the Astros two runners for the first time. Yordan Alvarez followed with a three-run homer that sent Houston to a 4-1 victory.

Peña finished the postseason with a .345 batting average, four home runs, eight RBIs, and a 1.005 OPS. He also became the first rookie shortstop to win a Gold Glove, as well as the first to homer in the World Series.

Just 24 years old when he was given the starting job at the start of the season after Carlos Correa left as a free agent, Peña became only the third rookie at any position to win World Series MVP, joining a pair of right-handed pitching: Los Angeles. Larry Sherry of the Dodgers in 1959 and Liván Hernández of Miami in 1997.

Peña’s home run in the 18th inning completed a Division Series sweep at Seattle and he hit a go-ahead home run off Noah Syndergaard in Game 5 of the World Series. His Game 2 jersey is headed to the Hall of Fame.

“You have to make tough decisions in this job, and Jeremy is making it sound like it was an easy decision, and it wasn’t,” Houston general manager James Click said. “Carlos is a great player and he has been a huge part of this franchise. But doing what Jeremy did, stepping in and raising his game in the playoffs, just speaks to his hard work, his character and the talent that he has. There aren’t many special guys on the planet who can do what he just did.”

Peña became the ninth player to win the MVP of a League Championship Series and the World Series in the same season. He hit .353 with two home runs and four RBIs against the Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

The only other player to win an LCS MVP, World Series MVP and a Gold Glove award during his career was pitcher Orel Hershiser, who took all three awards with the Dodgers in 1988.

Peña hit .291 with 22 home runs and 63 RBIs during the regular season and will likely finish high in AL Rookie of the Year voting. Seattle outfielder Julio Rodriguez is the favorite.

Others to win the LCS and World Series MVP in one year included Pittsburgh’s Willie Stargell (1979), St. Louis’s Darrell Porter (1982), Hershiser (1988), Hernandez (2003), Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels (2008 ), David of the Cardinals. Freese (2011), San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner (2014) and the Dodgers’ Corey Seager (2020).

Only four other rookies were LCS MVPs: Baltimore right-hander Mike Boddicker in 1983, Hernandez in 1997, St. Louis right-hander Michael Wacha in 2013 and Tampa Bay outfielder Randy Arozarena in 2020.

Pena recalled last year’s Game 6 loss to Atlanta at Minute Maid Park, where he joined the Astros but was inactive.

“These guys had a bitter taste in their mouths last year,” he said. “I was on the bench last year, I didn’t want to experience that again.”

– Article Written By @ from www.bing.com

Nicole Aniston
Nicole loves to write and works as a corporate communications expert by day. She's been working in the field for quite some time now. Her training in media studies has provided her a wide perspective from which to tackle various issues. Public relations, corporate communications, travel, entrepreneurship, insurance, and finance are just few of the many topics she's interested in covering in her work.
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