10/23/2003 1:11 AM ET
Game 4: Charting the MVP leaders
Past World Series MVPs
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
The World Series started a tradition in 1955 when Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Johnny Podres was named the event's first Most Valuable Player, and now baseball fans are waiting to see which Marlin or Yankee becomes No. 50. For each remaining game of this series, MLB.com's Mark Newman will chart the leaders.
1. Hideki Matsui. After establishing himself as the clear MVP frontrunner through three games, Godzilla showed in Game 4 that he can play World Series small ball, too. He advanced Bernie Williams in the second inning with a grounder that set up a sac fly, worked a crucial walk off Ugueth Urbina in the ninth-inning rally and another one against Chad Fox in the 11th. Matsui has improved every postseason round and is hitting .429 with a homer against Florida.
2. Bernie Williams. After setting the all-time postseason home run record with No. 19 in Game 3, could his first World Series MVP award be next? The Yankees' center fielder was 4-for-6 and not only scored in the first but also started the ninth-inning rally and scored. He leads all World Series regulars with a .471 average.
3. Jeff Conine. Although he has no extra-base hits or RBIs, Mr. Marlin has five hits in the last two games and is Florida's best candidate at this point. He singled and scored in the first inning for Florida's third run off Roger Clemens, and Conine's .429 average now leads all Marlin regulars.
4. Andy Pettitte. His stock actually rose when the Yankees lost. It means Pettitte is guaranteed to pitch again in Game 6 back at Yankee Stadium, and anything resembling his crucial Game 2 turnaround victory for New York would put him in prime MVP position.
5. Juan Pierre. The Marlins managed to manufacture a win without much noise from their leadoff man, who had scored in the first inning of two World Series games. He did, however, make a brilliant running catch on a John Flaherty drive in the 10th. Pierre is hitting .357 with no strikeouts.
Worth mentioning: Derek Jeter's stock dropped after a 1-for-6 night Wednesday, but that followed a big game and he is never out of the picture.
... Alex Gonzalez probably would need to dominate the remaining games to contend, but his 12th-inning walk-off homer will not be forgotten soon.
... The same applies to Braden Looper. After Urbina's meltdown, he shut the door on New York and is someone to watch the rest of the series. A setup man is a long shot to win the award, however, so don't hold your breath on Florida providing the first non-Yankee reliever to be MVP since Rollie Fingers with Oakland in 1974.
Mark Newman is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.