HOUSTON — The crowd knew it long before the game was over and before the votes had been cast. Each time Jeremy Peña stepped to the plate during Game 6 of the World Series on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the chants rang out.
They were right. On the night Peña cranked out two more hits and scored a run in the Astros’ 4-1 championship clincher over the Phillies, the 25-year-old rookie shortstop was indeed honored with the Willie Mays World Series MVP Award presented by Chevrolet.
Peña, the son of former Major League second baseman Geronimo Peña, looked remarkably comfortable on the Series stage, going 10-for-25 with a homer and three RBIs while playing fantastic defense at short. His Game 5 homer off Noah Syndergaard was the first World Series home run by a rookie shortstop, and his sixth-inning single in Game 6 set up the three-run Yordan Alvarez homer that swung the game and clinched the Series.
It was a remarkable postseason run for Peña, who was also named the American League Championship Series MVP for his 6-for-17, two-homer, two-double performance against the Yankees. Peña became just the ninth player — and the second rookie — to be named LCS and World Series MVP in the same postseason, joining:
Willie Stargell, Pirates, 1979
Darrell Porter, Cardinals, 1982
Orel Hershiser, Dodgers, 1988
Livan Hernandez, Marlins, 1997*
Cole Hamels, Phillies, 2008
David Freese, Cardinals, 2011
Madison Bumgarner, Giants, 2014
Corey Seager, Dodgers, 2020
*Hernandez was also a rookie.
It was also Peña who had the base hits that preceded Alvarez’s epic blasts in the AL Division Series against the Mariners, during which Peña went 4-for-16 with a homer and a double.
The epic October/November followed a 2022 regular season in which Peña had huge shoes to fill after Carlos Correa’s departure in free agency. With a solid .253 average, a .715 OPS and defense that made him the first rookie shortstop to win a Gold Glove, Peña more than answered the call. And now he answers to the name “World Series MVP.”