An alumnus of Williamsport’s professional baseball teams took front and center as the 2018 World Series Most Valuable Player for the Boston Red Sox in this year’s Fall Classic. In the 2018 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pearce hit a game-tying solo home run off of Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen in the top
An alumnus of Williamsport’s professional baseball teams took front and center as the 2018 World Series Most Valuable Player for the Boston Red Sox in this year’s Fall Classic.
In the 2018 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pearce hit a game-tying solo home run off of Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen in the top of the eighth inning of Game 4. In the next inning, Pearce came up with the bases loaded and hit a bases-clearing double, putting the Red Sox up 8–4 in a game they would go on to win 9–6. In Game 5, Pearce hit a two-run home run in the first inning off of former Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw and added a second home run in the eighth inning off Pedro Baez to extend the lead to 5–1. The Red Sox would go on to win the game and the series, giving Pearce his first World Series. He became the first Red Sox player to hit three home runs in the World Series since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, and in three fewer games. He joined Babe Ruth and Ted Kluszewski as the only players 35 or older to have a multi-home run game in the World Series.
Pearce began his professional career here in Williamsport after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Eighth Round of the college draft in 2005.
During that 2005 season with the Crosscutters Pearce was the team’s leading hitter, playing in 72 games, batting .301, hitting seven home runs and driving in 52 runs. He was a fan favorite and was a friendly presence for fans.
He had other minor league stints with Hickory, Altoona, and Indianapolis before being called up to Pittsburgh.
At this point, he became a “journeyman” playing for the Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays and finally the Boston Red Sox, his favorite team growing up in Massachusetts. Pearce became only the second player in major league history to play for every team in the American League’s Eastern Division.
Pearce is not the only former Williamsport player to have a pivotal role in a World Series. Bill Mazeroski, who played for the 1954 and 1955 Williamsport Grays, hit the home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game Seven of the 1960 World Series for the Pittsburgh Pirates that gave them the championship against the vaunted New York Yankees, in what many baseball historians consider the “greatest baseball game ever played.”
When the Boston Red Sox and the Brooklyn Dodgers, then known as the “Robins” met in the 1916 World Series, there was also a Williamsport connection in that Series as well. The Red Sox’ Mike McNally, known as “Minooka Mike” played on the team. McNally was later one of Williamsport’s most successful managers. He managed the Williamsport Grays from 1933 through 1936, piloting the Grays to the 1934 New York-Pennsylvania League championship.
Mike Mowery, who played for Brooklyn in 1916, was a member of the 1904 Williamsport Millionaires team of the Tri-State League.
- January 16, 2019