10/23/2003 11:49 PM ET
Game 5: 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. Brad Penny. In 1997, Livan Hernandez won Games 1 and 5 for the Florida Marlins and won the World Series MVP award. He struck out seven in 13 2/3 innings. In 2003, Penny won Games 1 and 5 for the Marlins, striking out seven in 12 1/3 innings. And he even went Hernandez one better with a huge RBI in Game 5. Yankee fans who remember history might be doomed to repeat it.
2. Juan Pierre. These Marlins jab away at the opposition, and the first one was Pierre's bunt single (and ultimate run) in the first at-bat of this World Series. He was 1-for-3 in the Game 5 victory with an RBI double, and his .353 average and solid play in center
has helped Florida take a 3-2 series lead back to the Bronx.
3. Derek Jeter. If the Yankees' captain wins this award, then he will join this select group of two-time World Series MVPs: Reggie Jackson (1973, 1977), Bob Gibson (1964, 1967) and Sandy Koufax (1963, 1965). Jeter is one huge weekend away. He did his part when Joe Torre moved him to leadoff in Game 5, reaching base four times and scoring in the first and ninth. After going 3-for-4, he is hitting .409.
4. Bernie Williams. In most any other ballpark, Bernie Baseball would have just jumped to the very top of this list. His ninth-inning drive to the wall in right-center could have tied Game 5 but it was caught, making him 1-for-4 and dropping his average to .429 -- still tops among regulars in this series. Williams has 16 total bases, more than twice as many as in any of his previous five Fall Classics.
5. Hideki Matsui. The clear favorite after the first three games has grown progressively quiet, grounding into the last out of Game 5 to end the rally. If he picks up at Yankee Stadium where he left off there, then he still could become a rare rookie World Series MVP winner. The 0-for-5 dropped him to .316.
6. Andy Pettitte. We added a sixth name to the usual top five, only because your friendly local tracker does not want to explain why an MVP wasn't even on the chart entering the final weekend. This is speculative but unavoidable, for obvious reasons. If Pettitte proves to be a stopper and wins Game 6, and if the Yankees win the Series, then he is the embodiment of valuable.
Worth mentioning: Alex Gonzalez. After giving his bat to the Hall of Fame following the Game 4 walk-off homer in the 12th, a new bat still had hits in it Thursday. Should the Marlins' light-hitting shortstop have a big weekend, that home run will become a huge criteria.
Jeff Conine. Mr. Marlin was 1-for-3, drove in a run and leads all Marlin regulars with a .412 average. He was brilliant back home at Pro Player, where he already has won a world championship.
Nick Johnson had a great first weekend at Yankee Stadium, and after going 2-for-4 with a run Thursday, he is hitting .357 and is someone to watch.
Mark Newman is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.