NEW YORK — Major League Baseball has named its World Series Most Valuable Player award after Willie Mays.
The decision was announced Friday, the 63rd anniversary of Mays’ back-to-the-plate catch in deep center field at the Polo Grounds for the New York Giants against Cleveland’s Vic Wertz in the World Series opener. The Giants went on to sweep the Indians.
The Series MVP award began the following year, when it was won by Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Johnny Podres.
“I’d like to thank Commissioner Rob Manfred and his team at Major League Baseball for honoring me with this recognition,” Mays said in a statement. “Baseball has always taken care of me, and for that I am grateful. I think it’s just a wonderful thing to know that at 86 years of age, I can still give something back to the game. I am proud to lend my name to this important award. What a day this has been!”
Now 86, Mays played in 24 All-Star Games during a 22-year-career with the New York and San Francisco Giants, and the New York Mets.
“Once again, it’s going to remind people of who Willie is and how great a player he was,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
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