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MLB renames World Series MVP award in honor of Willie Mays

Major League Baseball on Friday announced it has renamed the World Series MVP award in honor of one of the most revered players in baseball history: Willie Mays.

“Major League Baseball is thrilled to honor Willie Mays on our game’s biggest stage and in a manner that befits his many contributions to the sport,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement, via MLB.com.

The announcement comes on the 63rd anniversary of Mays’ iconic “The Catch,” when the New York Giants outfielder chased down a fly ball hit to deep center field by the Cleveland Indians’ Vic Wertz in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series at the Polo Grounds. The sprint and over-the-shoulder catch is perhaps one of the most memorable plays in World Series history.

The Giants went on to sweep the Indians in four games.

Major League Baseball alluded to the significance of the anniversary of the amazing grab by “The Say Hey Kid” in its tweet announcing the renaming of the award.

“Since making ‘The Catch’ on Sept. 29, 1954, Willie has been a part of World Series history,” Manfred’s statement continued. “This annual recognition will forever celebrate the life and career of a legend of the national pastime.”

Mays, 86, played in four World Series and was a 24-time All-Star and two-time National League MVP.

The first time an MVP for the World Series was named came in 1955, a year after Mays’ miraculous catch.