Meet the World Series MVP you never expected: Steve Pearce aka 2018 Babe Ruth

LOS ANGELES — Baseball has a way. So often it manages, among the likes of J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts, to hone in for a few days on the most unlikely guy on the team and turn him into Babe Ruth.

Baseball has a way of saying, “Steve Pearce, come here. You’re going to win the World Series for your team.”

Steve Pearce is 35 years old. Steve Pearce has worn the uniform of seven teams in a 12-year career as a pro baseball player, including every team in the American League East. Steve Pearce was traded from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Boston Red Sox on June 28 for a guy you’ve never heard of. Oh, and the Jays threw in $1.66 million dollars to sweeten the deal for Boston.

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Put all that together and now consider this: In Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night, Pearce slugged two home runs and was named the series MVP after the Red Sox dispatched of the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-1.

Steve Pearce, World Series MVP. You want an out-of-nowhere, feel-good story? This is it.

“This is the greatest feeling of my life,” Pearce said.

There’s the MVP trophy, sure. The Chevy truck that comes with it. The World Series ring that’s on its way. The craziest part might be this: Pearce is cozying up in the record book with some unbelievable names. He’s only the third player in MLB history age 35 or older to hit two home runs in a World Series game. The others are Ted Kluszewski and some dude named Babe Ruth.

“Sure,” said Pearce, earnest as can be. “That’s great company.”

Oh, but that’s not all. Pearce is also just the third player in history with back-to-back World Series games in which he homered and had at least three RBIs. The others? Lou Gehrig and that Babe Ruth fella again.

Steve Pearce!

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The best photos from the 2018 World Series
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The best photos from the 2018 World Series
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 24: in Game Two of the 2018 World Series at Fenway Park on October 24, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26: Brock Holt #12 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates as he scores a thirteenth inning run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 26, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26: Manny Machado #8 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a sixth inning single off the wall against the Boston Red Sox in Game Three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 26, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26: Austin Barnes #15 of the Los Angeles Dodgers collides with Eduardo Nunez #36 of the Boston Red Sox while fielding a wild pitch during the thirteenth inning in Game Three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 26, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26: Eduardo Nunez #36 of the Boston Red Sox falls into the stands after catching a ball in foul territory for the second out of the thirteenth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 26, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes tags Boston Red Sox's Ian Kinsler at home while trying to score on a fly ball by Eduardo Nunez during the 10th inning in Game 3 of the World Series baseball game on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda looks up as Boston Red Sox's Andrew Benintendi scores on a three-run double by Steve Pearce during the ninth inning in Game 4 of the World Series baseball game on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Los Angeles. Center is Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Los Angeles Dodgers' Justin Turner tries to make the throw on a single by Boston Red Sox's Jackie Bradley Jr. during the third inning in Game 3 of the World Series baseball game on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Fans cheer from the top of Dodger Stadium during Game 4 of the World Series baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 23: The dugout reacts as Eduardo Nunez #36 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates his three-run home run during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game One of the 2018 World Series at Fenway Park on October 23, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 23: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox steals second base during the first inning against Manny Machado #8 of the Los Angeles Dodgersin Game One of the 2018 World Series at Fenway Park on October 23, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Dodgers' Max Muncy scores ahead of the throw to Boston Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon on a sacrifice fly by Los Angeles Dodgers' Manny Machado during the seventh inning of Game 1 of the World Series baseball game Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Boston Red Sox's Eduardo Nunez reacts as he runs the bases after hitting a three-run home run during the seventh inning of Game 1 of the World Series baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Boston Red Sox's Eduardo Nunez reacts after hitting a three-run home run during the seventh inning of Game 1 of the World Series baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
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Pearce took Clayton Kershaw deep in the first inning, a two-run homer that would, in time, be all the Red Sox needed. They scored more, though, and by the time Pearce homered again in the 8th inning, this time off Pedro Baez, the party was starting in Boston.

Afterward, Pearce’s family packed into the room where World Series MVPs do their interviews.

“When you’re a kid, this is where you want to be,” he said. “And it’s happening right now. And I get to celebrate it with my family and friends back there. And I know they’re happy. They’re on cloud nine, as I am.”

“How are you feeling?” he asked his wife, Jessica.

“She’s feeling good,” he then told the media. “This is a great moment. I’m so glad I get to share it with everybody.”

Thirteen members of his family came to the stage with Pearce afterward and posed for a picture with Pearce and the Willie Mays trophy.

“Baseball is a funny game,” Pearce said. “You never know where the game will take you. And I’ve gone through a lot in my life or in my career to be here, and I couldn’t be more thankful.”

Pearce was, at one point, a 45th round draft pick by the Minnesota Twins coming out of high school in Florida, where, believe it or not, he was a Red Sox fan. He went to community college instead of signing with the Twins, then to the University of South Carolina and eventually was an eighth-round pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2005.

He debuted in the big leagues pretty quickly, seeing his first action in 2007. But even now, he’s played 638 minor leagues compared to 737 big-league games. Injuries often derailed his promise and he had trouble staying in one place.

Take 2012: He was released by the Twins, who had signed Pearce after the Pirates cut ties with him. The Yankees picked him up, but then sent him to the Orioles. The Orioles waived him two months later and the Astros picked him up. It was July at this point and he was on his fourth team. By August, the Yankees got him back, but in September he was waived and picked up by the Orioles again.

And six years later? He hit four homers and knocked in 11 runs in the postseason for the Red Sox. In the World Series, he had three homers and eight of his RBIs. In Boston’s Game 4 comeback, he had a homer to tie the game in the eighth and a three-run double to make it a laugher in the ninth. Pearce’s bat from that game is now en route to Cooperstown.

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Red Sox defeat Dodgers in World Series Game 5
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Red Sox defeat Dodgers in World Series Game 5
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Steve Pearce #25 of the Boston Red Sox is congratulated by his teammate Xander Bogaerts #2 after his eighth inning home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats in the ninth inning during Game 5 of the 2018 World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Steve Pearce #25 of the Boston Red Sox watches the flight of his solo home run in the eighth inning during Game 5 of the 2018 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Steve Pearce #25 of the Boston Red Sox hits an eighth inning home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: David Price #24 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after retiring the side during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his seventh inning fly out against the Boston Red Sox in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers walks off the field after pitching during the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: David Price #24 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the eighth inning during Game 5 of the 2018 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Brock Holt #12 of the Boston Red Sox rounds second base during Game 5 of the 2018 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 28: Boston Red Sox player J.D. Martinez returns to the dugout after hitting a home run in the sixth inning. The Los Angeles Dodgers host the Boston Red Sox in Game 5 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Oct. 28, 2018. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox walks off the field after the seventh inning during Game 5 of the 2018 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after allowing a seventh inning home run to J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox rounds the bases after his seventh inning home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox is congratulated by his teammate Xander Bogaerts #2 after his seventh inning home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Joe Kelly #56 of the Boston Red Sox delivers the pitch during the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on from the dugout during the ninthinning against the Boston Red Sox in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox delivers the pitch during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: The Boston Red Sox celebrate around Chris Sale #41 after their 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five to win the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: The Boston Red Sox celebrate their 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five to win the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Christian Vazquez #7 jumps into the arms of Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox to celebrate their 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five to win the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Christian Vazquez #7 and David Price #24 embrace Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox to celebrate their 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five to win the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: The Boston Red Sox celebrate their 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five to win the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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“We thought Steve Pearce would be a good player for us. We thought he’d add to our ballclub,” said Dave Dombrowski, the Red Sox’s president of baseball operations, recounting the trade that brought him to Boston this season. “We brought him in particularly to hit versus left-handed pitching, because we were a little susceptible to left-hand pitching. We also knew that he was a leader, was not afraid of any type of tough competition, he’d been around the league.

“We’d never say he was going to win the MVP in the World Series.”

But here we are. Steve Pearce, man.

He’s the latest member to join a fraternity of 63. Reggie Jackson, Pete Rose, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, they’re in the group. Randy Johnson, Derek Jeter, David Ortiz, Madison Bumgarner, they’re in it too.

And then there are the more unlikely guys. David Eckstein. Pat Borders. Steve Pearce.

Every MVP has his own story. Some are better than others. Some are more likely than others. And some are the guy you’d never think of, the guy so many teams passed on, the guy who was always thankful for every opportunity.

Best believe that guy loves every minute of this.

“Best feeling in my life,” Pearce said.

Baseball has a way. It always has a way.

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Mike Oz is a writer at Yahoo Sports. Contact him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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