Should Chase Utley Get World Series MVP – On a Losing Team?
Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley has been having a World Series reminiscent of Reggie Jackson, with five homers, a .333 average, eight RBI, and an outrageous 1.651 OPS. But should Utley win World Series MVP, even if the Phillies lose the series?
Philadelphia writer/podcaster Dan Levy discusses the case for Utley on The Sporting News’ blog. Levy notes that a World Series MVP winner on a losing team has happened before. New York Yankees second baseman Bobby Richardson won the award in 1960, when the Yanks lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates in seven games that year.
But this Yankee fan thinks that Richardson had no business winning that MVP, even if he did set a World Series record with 12 RBIs. Not after Bill Mazeroski won Game 7 with one of the most famous walkoff homers in history (even if the MLB Network seems to have forgotten it this year – it didn’t make their list of memorable World Series homers.)
It’s not like Mazeroski was a slouch for the rest of the World Series, either. The career .260 hitter, who only hit 138 homers in his 17-year career, batted .320, with two homers that October. Maseroski was known for his great defense, not offense, but that Game 7 homer is what got him into the Hall of Fame. Yet that same homer wasn’t enough to get him the 1960 World Series MVP. What an injustice.
Granted, Maz wouldn’t have gotten to hit that homer if Yankee manager Casey Stengel hadn’t mismanaged the series in the first place. Even though the Yanks outscored the Pirates 55-27 in the series, and outhit them 91-60, they lost the series thanks to Stengel’s bizarre managerial choices, like not even starting Whitey Ford until Game 3. The Yankees’ shocking loss in the 1960 World Series ended up costing Stengel his job, and rightfully so. You don’t start Art Ditmar over The Chairman of the Board in Game 1 of the World Series and expect to win.
As for Chase Utley, no matter how good his performance in the Fall Classic has been so far, he doesn’t deserve it if his team loses the series. Barry Bonds had an epic World Series performance in 2002, hitting .471 and sporting an epic 1.994 OPS, but he didn’t win the MVP that year when his San Francisco Giants lost the series in seven games. Why should Utley be any different?
If the Yankees win the series, I’m not sure who the MVP should be. Johnny Damon, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and Mariano Rivera have all had some MVP-worthy moments so far, but there is no clear-cut candidate yet. It all depends, of course, on what happens in Games 6 and/or 7.
But I do know who does not deserve the award if the Yanks win it all – Utley. You can’t give World Series Most Valuable Player honors to somebody on the losing team. Put it this way – if Utley does win the MVP this year, and his Phillies lose the series, Yankee fan Jay-Z ought to emulate friend Kanye West and interrupt the awards ceremony to decry the injustice of it all.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons
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