Once again, the Royals were on the ropes in a postseason game. Once again, they managed to come back and win. It just so happens to be the game in which they secured the World Series. Aggressive base running and timely hitting helped them tie the game in the ninth inning before securing the title in a monster five-run 12th inning. All of Kansas City’s players did their job, but there was one that stood out: Venezuelan catcher Salvador Pérez.
Not having enough with plating the tying run in the ninth inning, Pérez started the bunch of runs in the 12th with a leadoff single. In fact, Pérez went on to get the MVP title in the World Series for his .364 batting average. It’s a rare treat. Perez is only the second Venezuelan to get that award, and the first catcher to do so since 1992.
On a team full of Latino pitchers, it’s natural to have someone speaking Spanish behind the plate. At only 25, Perez, who has been in the Kansas City organization since he was 16, has tons of innings on his knees, three All-Star appearances, and a couple World Series under his belt. Now he can add a ring and one of the sports world’s nicest trophies to that list.
It was not easy to get all the way there. Catchers have the most physically demanding job on a baseball team; they regularly get hit by foul tips or opponent bats. This postseason, Perez took several of them, including a serious hit to the collarbone in Game 4 of the World Series. No problem, he just took a deep breath and got ready for the next pitch.
The funny part is that Perez was not behind the plate to catch Wade Davis’s final strikeout. Sal, as his teammates call him, has the most innings behind the plate in the last two seasons, but had to be substituted for a pinch-runner to secure the runs. So he watched his work from the dugout, like a painter admiring his completed masterpiece, with the biggest smile of all. Then he gave his coach the infamous Salvy Bath and a deserved hug.