On Friday afternoon it was announced that the Chevrolet sponsored World Series MVP Award would now be renamed in honor of The Say Hey Kid, Willie Mays.
SAY HEY! World Series MVP to be Renamed in Willie Mays’ Honor
While Mays only played in four Fall Classics, and only one in which he was a leading player of the series, his basket catch some 450 feet away from home plate in the 1954 World Series (the only one where he was on the championship winning team) remains one of the most iconic moments in baseball history. Mays also carries an interesting distinction of performing in the World Series in his rookie campaign of 1951 with the New York Giants. And having the World Series be his “riding off in the sunset” moment 21 years later in 1973, as a member of the New York Mets.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said in an MLB.com statement “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. 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.”
Not to be confused with the Babe Ruth World Series MVP Award, given out annually by the New York Chapter of the BBWAA during the winter starting in 1949, the MLB World Series MVP was first given out by Sport Magazine in 1955, with Johnny Podres of the Brooklyn Dodgers as the first recipient.
To date only Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson have won the MVP on more than one occasion. Soon after the award’s creation, Chevrolet became a joint sponsor, with the winner receiving a new vehicle. Following Sport Magazine’s demise in 2000, Chevrolet has been, and continues to be, the award’s sponsor.
Of course, the Hall of Famer, two-time NL MVP, and 24-time All-Star’s regular season accomplishments are too numerous to list off, but this is now the latest honor bestowed on the now 86-year old Mays, who was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015, the same year he was named as one of MLB’s Greatest Living Players.