Starting in 1955, MLB began to give out an award for a player who had the most impact on his team’s performance in the World Series. It’s an exclusive club, but some MVPs had a more decisive impact than others. It’s not just about the individual contribution but the bigger context of the Series altogether. Since there are plenty of World Series MVPs to pick from, we decided to make our own team with a lineup of star-studded talent and plenty of Hall of Famers. But first, here’s a breakdown of the roster selection for the World Series MVP team.
A stat we will use from Baseball Reference was introduced in 2020 called Championship Probability Added (cWPA). cWPA measures each player’s contributions towards his team winning the World Series. A player’s performance later in the Series is weighed heavier than earlier. Essentially, a player who made one or more big plays are favored over players who are the best statistically. For example, Jack Morris put up a postseason performance for the ages. His pitching line for Game 7 of the 1991 World Series: 10 innings, seven hits, no runs, two walks, eight strikeouts and 122 pitches. His performance was the longest in the seventh game of the Fall Classic.
Second, we will look at who came through to deliver the biggest performances to help their club win. Whether it’s dominating on the mound or clutch hits, some players carry the weight on baseball’s brightest stage. For instance, Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt was someone with a low cWPA but was the star of the 1980 World Series.
Lastly, there are two positions where a player and no one else won the MVP. They automatically make the team due to that status.
World Series MVP Starting Lineup
Manager, Willie Mays
Career postseason stats: 33 G, 134 PA, 117 AB, 17 R, 29 H, 6 2B, 1 HR, 15 RBI, 3 SB, 17 BB, 12 SO, .248/.343/.325
In 2017, the World Series MVP award was renamed after Willie Mays, one of the game’s all-time greats. In his 22-year Major League career, the “Say Hey Kid” won a championship with the New York Giants in the 1954 Fall Classic. So, it’s appropriate and fitting for Mays to be the skipper of this star-studded team. After all, the award is in remembrance of one of his best moments in baseball, The Catch.
Johnny Bench, C, 1976
World Series stats: 4 G, 15 PA, 15 AB, 4 R, 8 H, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SO, .533/.533/1.133, cWPA: 6.8%
Johnny Bench was named the 1976 World Series MVP after hitting .533 with two home runs and six RBI. Bench became the second catcher to win the prestigious award as the Cincinnati Reds eliminated the New York Yankees in four games. He had two hits in every game and threw out one of the two runners who tried to steal. In the Reds’ three-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1976 NLCS, Bench hit .333, then shined bright in the Fall Classic.
Willie Stargell, 1B, 1979
World Series stats: 7 G, 32 PA, 30 AB, 7 R, 12 H, 4 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 6 SO, .400/.375/.893, cWPA: 39.0%
Willie Stargell solidified his Hall of Fame career by the time the 1979 World Series began. His performance stood out compared to everyone else as the first baseman hit .400 with three homers, four doubles and seven RBI in the World Series. “Pops” 25 total bases were shared with Reggie Jackson from 1977, a World Series record at the time. After leading the Pittsburgh Pirates all postseason, Stargell became the first player to win the LCS, World Series, and regular-season MVP awards in the same season.
Bobby Richardson, 2B, 1960
World Series stats: 7 G, 31 PA, 30 AB, 8 R, 11 H, 2 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO .367/.387/.667, cWPA: -3.4%
When people think about the 1960 World Series, Bill Mazeroski’s Game 7 homer comes to mind. But Bobby Richardson had a World Series for the ages, becoming the only player to win the award on a losing team. Richardson set a record for the most RBIs in the Fall Classic with 12, which remains a record today. In addition, his best performance in the Series was Game 3, when he hit a grand slam against Clem Labine. Despite losing the Fall Classic, Richardson was in the postseason seven times, posting a career average of .305 with 15 RBIs.
Mike Schmidt, 3B, 1980
World Series stats: 6 G, 26 PA, 21 AB, 6 R, 8 H, 1 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 3 SO, .381/.462/.714, cWPA: 19.5%
Mike Schmidt, the NL MVP and home run king of 1980, was the star of the Series. But 1980 holds a greater significance for Schmidt, who became an icon in Philadelphia. Despite hitting .191 with no home runs and five RBI in the postseason, his bat came alive against the Kansas City Royals. He hit two homers while driving seven runs as the Phillies beat the Royals in six games to take home their first World Series in franchise history.
Corey Seager, SS, 2020
World Series stats: 6 G, 27 PA, 20 AB, 7 R, 8 H, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 SB, 6 BB, 4 SO, .400/.556/.700, cWPA: 26.0%
Corey Seager’s dazzling efforts in the 2020 World Series were incredible. Seager’s baserunning was lethal, and his defense at shortstop was spectacular. Then, he was better at the plate with a .400 batting average, a .556 on-base percentage and 1.256 OPS. In addition, he scored seven runs, hit a pair of home runs and stole a base. If that’s not enough, then consider this- his three World Series home runs tie with Carlos Correa and Derek Jeter for the most by a shortstop. His 20 RBI in the postseason also trailed David Freese, who had 21 in 2011 for the Cardinals.
Manny Ramírez, LF, 2004
World Series stats: 4 G, 20 PA, 17 AB, 2 R, 7 H, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 3 SO, .412/.500/.588, cWPA: 8.6%
Manny Ramirez and the Red Sox were the first team to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the LCS. In the 2004 World Series, Ramírez hit .412 with a home run and four RBI in a quick four-game set against the St. Louis Cardinals. His lone home run came in the first inning of Game 3 off Cardinals starter Jeff Suppan. Ramírez hit 29 home runs in the postseason, which are the most in MLB history.
George Springer, CF, 2017
World Series stats: 7 G, 34 PA, 29 AB, 8 R, 11 H, 3 2B, 5 HR, 7 RBI, 5 BB, 8 SO, .379/.471/1.471, cWPA: 55.3%
George Springer capped off his stellar week by hitting his World Series record-tying fifth home run to lead his team to a victory in Game 7. Springer hit .345/.411/1.000 while matching Jackson and Chase Utley for hitting five home runs in the World Series. Furthermore, Springer passed Stargell for the most-extra base hits in a Fall Classic with seven. He’s the first player to have had one extra-base hit in six consecutive Series games.
Reggie Jackson, RF, 1977
World Series stats: 6 G, 24 AB, 20 PA, 10 R, 9 H, 1 2B, 5 HR, 8 RBI, 3 BB, 4 SO, .450/.542/1.250, cWPA: 24.9%
Reggie Jackson cemented himself as Mr. October in this very World Series. Jackson’s three-homer game in Game 6 ended a season of turmoil where he left Baltimore for New York through free agency. The Yankees succeeded the Royals; despite Jackson sitting on the bench after recording one hit in 14 at-bats throughout the first four games.
However, in the World Series, Jackson turned it around by hitting five home runs in the final three games. He was named the World Series MVP, matching his performance in the 1973 World Series with the Oakland Athletics.
David Ortiz, DH, 2013
World Series stats: 6 G, 25 PA, 16 AB, 7 R, 11 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 8 BB, 1 SO, .688/.760/1.188, cWPA: 34.0%
David Ortiz capped off a dominant week when he helped the Red Sox defeat the Cardinals in six games. Ortiz made his case for the award loud and clear throughout the Series. He posted a .688 average with two home runs, six RBI, and eight walks. His .760 on-base percentage and batting average were the second-highest in Series history, trailing Billy Hatcher’s feat of .800 and .750 in 1990 for the Cincinnati Reds. With three rings to his name, Ortiz was the last link to the Red Sox team that swept the Cardinals in 2004, ending an 86-year championship drought.
Madison Bumgarner, SP, 2014
World Series stats: 2-0, 0.43 ERA, 3 G, 2 GS, 1 GF, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 1 SV, 21 IP, 17 SO, 0.476 WHIP, cWPA: 92.1%
Madison Bumgarner put up a spectacular October in 2014. After winning Game 1 of the Fall Classic, Bumgarner threw a shutout in Game 5. When Kansas City pushed the Series to a Game 7, there was little doubt that the Giants needed him to pitch on two days’ rest. On the mound, he gave up two hits, retired 14 in a row and got 15 outs. In addition, Bumgarner increased his World Series stats to something never done before. He went 4-0 with a save and a 0.25 ERA. In 36 innings, Bumgarner allowed one run and 14 hits while striking out 31 and walking five batters. He went 4-1 with a 1.03 in the 2014 postseason.
Rollie Fingers, RP, 1974
World Series stats: 1-0, 1.93 ERA, 4 G, 3 GF, 2 SV, 9 1/3 IP, 6 SO, 1.071 WHIP, cWPA: 25.4%
Oakland was a championship dynasty from 1972-1974. The man responsible for those World Series titles is Rollie Fingers. In Game 5 of the Fall Classic against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Fingers threw two scoreless innings to end the game. The A’s ace reliever earned his second save of the World Series as he won MVP honors. In the 19 World Series games the A’s played in from that span, Fingers pitched in 16 of them, totalling two six wins and six saves as he finished 10 of those starts.
Mariano Rivera, RP, 1999
World Series stats: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 G, 3 GF, 2 SV, 4 2/3 IP, 3 SO, 0.857 WHIP, cWPA: 11.0%
Mariano Rivera didn’t allow a run after July 21 as he got a win with two saves in three appearances in this World Series. He didn’t allow a run in 4 2/3 innings and had 25 2/3 shutout innings in the postseason. In Game 4, Rivera became the third pitcher to record the final out in consecutive World Series. It was the first time since Bob Kuzava did it in 1951-52. Rivera became the only pitcher to record three-straight World Series final outs the following season.
World Series MVP Batting Order
1 George Springer, CF
2 Reggie Jackson, RF
3 David Ortiz, DH
4 Manny Ramírez, LF
5 Mike Schmidt, 3B
6 Willie Stargell, 1B
7 Johnny Bench, C
8 Bobby Richardson, 2B
9 Corey Seager, SS
Bench: Paul Molitor, Roberto Clemente, Gene Tenace
Rotation: Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Jack Morris, Don Larsen
Bullpen: Larry Sherry, John Wetteland, Orel Hershiser, Mickey Lolich
Editors note: Hershiser and Lolich were added to the bullpen, as Sherry and Wettleland are two of four relievers on the roster to win MVP honors.
Willie Mays, Johnny Bench, Willie Stargell, Bobby Richardson, Bill Mazeroski, Mike Schmidt, Clem Labine, Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, Derek Jeter, David Freese, Manny Ramirez, Jeff Suppan, George Springer, Chase Utley, Reggie Jackson, David Ortiz, Billy Hatcher, Madison Bumgarner, Rollie Fingers, Mariano Rivera, Bob Kuzava, Paul Molitor, Roberto Clemente, Gene Tenace, Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Jack Morris, Don Larsen, Larry Sherry, John Wetteland, Orel Hershiser, Mickey Lolich
Matt Graves, Site Manager
Matt Graves is a graduate of the Radio Broadcasting program at Fanshawe College. Since then, he has worked as a writer in radio, journalism, and digital media. He enjoys sports, cooking, listening to podcasts, and collecting vinyl records to play on his record player.