Major League Baseball announced today that the World Series Most Valuable Player trophy will forever be called the Willie Mays World Series MVP Award, named after the San Francisco Giants great.
The announcement came on the same day as the 63rd anniversary of his famous catch in the 1954 World Series.
One thing of note about the 1954 Series is that there was no MVP. The first World Series MVP award was given the following season to Johnny Podres of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the decision today:
"“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,” Manfred said in the statement. “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.”"
Some in baseball were surprised by the move, pointing to Mays’ low numbers at the plate in his World Series career.
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Mays is not only an icon in baseball history and a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, but he is considered by many to be the greatest living baseball player.
But there is no denying why Mays was chosen. His catch is the greatest moment in the history of the World Series.
The San Francisco Giants have honored Hall of Fame center fielder in many ways. The have retired his number, they have built a statue of him outside their home park and also named the street the park is built next to after him.
For the entire league to honor the Giant legend is another example of the impact he has had beyond the cities of New York and San Francisco.