Mookie Betts made baseball history when the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays in six games to win their first World Series title since 1988.
Two years after becoming an MVP when the Boston Red Sox defeated the Dodgers in the Classic case, Betts raised the Commissioner’s Trophy for the second time when he helped his new team end a 32-year wait for a World Series trophy.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Betts is the first player in history to be named an MVP and win a World Series title with two different franchises before turning 30.
The Dodgers acquired Betts in February along with David Price from the Red Sox in exchange for Alex Verdugo, Connor Wong and Jeter Downs before investing heavily in the four-time All Star in July when Betts signed a massive $365 million 12-year extension – the richest deal in Dodgers history and the third most lucrative deal in the history of North American sports.
However, Los Angeles has already reaped dividends. Betts was instrumental in that success throughout the post-season, scoring .296 with nine extra base hits, eight RBIs, 15 runs and six stolen bases, as well as a series of eye-catching and game-conserving moves in the outfield.
Fittingly, Betts stole the show again in game 6 and scored the “go ahead” run in the bottom of the sixth inning before hitting the home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to extend the Dodgers’ lead to 3-1.
Mookie Betts is the first player ever to win the MVP and a World Series title with 2 different franchises before he turned 30.
h/t @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/I4kUpdYgIs
– ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 28, 2020
Betts had hit a home run in Game 5 of the 2018 World Series, and the home run he hit against Ray’s replacement Peter Fairbanks on Tuesday night made him only the ninth player in MLB history to hit a home run in several world series, and only the second after the legendary Reggie Jackson to do so with two different teams.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Betts is also only the third player in MLB history after Lou Brock in 1968 and Lenny Dykstra in 1993 to have hit at least four stolen bases and several home runs in a World Series.
Talking to the Boston Globe after Game 6, Betts suggested that a second World Series title in three years was his only focus since he traded Massachusetts for California eight months ago.
“This time I knew what to expect, but my goals, my motives were a little different,” he said.
“That’s why I was traded. I’m proud of myself; proud of the boys for making it.”
With the inclusion of the three-time Gold Glove Award winner and four-time Silver Slugger Award winner, the Dodgers found the missing piece of what is probably already the best team in the MLB.
While Betts turned out to be arguably the best player in baseball throughout the postseason, the Red Sox reached the end of the American League East in the shortened regular season.
The rivalry between the Red Sox and the Dodgers is not nearly as intense as that between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, but after the Dodgers’ triumph in Game 6, Twitter was nevertheless flooded with memories of what the Red Sox had lost in the trade.
I would like to thank the city of Boston for Mookie Betts. Well taken care of
– OâShea Jack(Nichol)son (@OsheaJacksonJr) October 28, 2020
Okay, you win, LA. Switch Mookie back now.
– Chad Finn (@GlobeChadFinn) October 28, 2020
Red Sox fans see Mookie win a ring in LA ð #Dodgers #WorldSeries pic.twitter.com/P9DTYGp1J7
– Whistle (@WhistleSports) October 28, 2020
“THEY’RE TWEETING US THINGS AGAIN ABOUT MOOKIE… RELEASE ALL DOGS” pic.twitter.com/I9h4gcZmk5
– Red (@SurvivingGrady) October 28, 2020
Mookie Betts humiliates cowardly salary optimizers and squints the over-managers in a brilliant performance. We love watching that.
– Tom Ley (@ToLey88) October 28, 2020
It should be remembered that some have described the Red Sox’ decision to switch Betts as a sensible, if difficult, move.
Since it’s almost certain that Betts will test a free agency at the end of this season, Boston decided to get what it could for its star rather than risk losing him for nothing.
Financially, the deal brought the Red Sox payroll below $180 million, welcome news for an organization that for the past two years had exceeded the threshold for the competitive balance tax under the Cot Treaties.
On the other hand, the deal could haunt the Red Sox for years to come with a transcendent talent like Betts. Boston, of all places, knows only too well the impact of the departure of baseball stars in their heyday.