NEW YORK (AP)—There was a time when MVP awards were practically passed around the Pittsburgh clubhouse, from one generation to the next.
Dick Groat and Roberto Clemente in the 1960s. Dave Parker and Willie Stargell in the late ‘70s. Barry Bonds twice in the early ‘90s.
And now, Andrew McCutchen appears poised to pick up that torch.
The dynamic center fielder was the centerpiece of a long-awaited turnaround for the Pirates, back in the playoffs for the first time in 21 years. Pittsburgh’s charming revival after 20 straight losing records, the longest drought in any of the four major pro sports, has been the feel-good story of this baseball season.
So if McCutchen’s statistics weren’t quite enough to warrant Most Valuable Player honors in the National League, the warm-and-fuzzy sentiment might have pushed him over the top.
His performance alone was plenty—especially when defense and baserunning get factored in as much as they should.