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The Steve Pearce Story: From Young Red Sox fan to World Series MVP

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Showcasing the rough career of Steve Pearce and how he came to stardom as the World Series MVP.

World Series - Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Five Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Steve Pearce has managed to etch his name into baseball history and Boston sports history. Pearce, the World Series MVP, made a long journey through the MLB to get to this point in his career with the Red Sox. Let’s take a look at how Pearce managed to get himself to this point with Boston’s team, shall we?.

High School

Steven Wayne Pearce attended Lakeland High school in Lakeland, Florida where he was a three-year letterman in baseball and posted a .383 batting average. Pearce’s father was born in Massachusetts, which is how Steve became a Red Sox fan. Did you know that about him? I’m not sure if it was mentioned on the World Series broadcasts.

College

Believe it or not, the 35-year-old started out his college career at Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce, Florida. Pearce played there for two seasons, leading the team in batting average during both seasons. While at Indian River, he managed to launch 17 home runs. Pearce was inducted into the Indian River Hall of Fame back in 2015.

At that point, Pearce was then drafted by two major league teams. One being the Minnesota Twins in 2003, the other team being the Boston Red Sox in 2004. The slugger turned both teams down and continued to play college ball.

In the summer of 2004, Pearce played for the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod Baseball League. During that summer, Pearce hit for a .277 average with a home run and seven RBI’s in 24 games.

After summer ball concluded, Pearce transferred to the University of South Carolina where he led the team in batting average, home runs, and RBI’s during 2004 and 2005. In his two seasons with the Gamecocks, Pearce smashed 42 home runs. In 2004, he hit .346 with 21 home runs and 70 RBI to lead the Gamecocks to their third consecutive World Series appearance. As a senior in 2005, he hit .358 with 21 home runs and 63 RBI’s. Pearce was then selected as a Second-Team All-American.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh selected Pearce in the eighth round of the 2005 MLB Entry draft. In 2007, Pearce played for the Double-A Altoona Curve, and the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. Throughout his time in the minors, Pearce blasted 31 home runs, raked in 113 RBI’s, and hit .333 in 134 games played.

Pearce made his MLB debut 11 years ago! He made said debut against the Milwaukee Brewers playing right field and going 2-for-4 at the plate. Pearce played 23 games with the 2007 Pirates, notching six RBI’s and batting .294.

Pittsburgh Pirates Photo Day Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images

In 2008, the big-man made some appearances with the Pirates but ultimately played Triple-A ball. He batted .248 with four home runs and 15 RBI’s in 37 games played. Not bad for a kid looking to make the majors. He increased his production but still didn’t make the starting roster the following year.

Through the 2009-2011 seasons, Pearce finally made a name for himself on the opening night roster for Pittsburgh. In that 2011 season, Pearce worked on his versatility, playing both left field and first base.

Through five seasons with the pirates, Pearce appeared in 185 games, batting .232 and racking up 52 RBI’s with nine home runs.

After his five seasons in Pittsburgh, Pearce moved on to sign a minor league deal with the Minnesota Twins. The Twins eventually released him and Pearce then signed a minor league contract with the New York Yankees where he was eventually traded to the Baltimore Orioles.

Baltimore Orioles

When Pearce was traded to the Orioles, it was for a good reason. Pearce became a starting player for the Orioles in 2012 when he made his Baltimore debut against the Tampa Bay Rays. The slugger played in 28 games and batted .254 with three home runs and 14 RBI’s.

Houston Astros

What a stint it was with for Pearce with the Houston Astros (not really). In 2012 the Astros claimed him off waivers from the Orioles where he played in 21 games and batted .254 with eight RBI’s.

Not really much to say here, the Astros traded Pearce back to the New York Yankees for cash considerations.

New York Yankees

The Yanks re-acquired Pearce from the Astros in 2012. He only played in 12 games for the Yankees that year, batting .160 with one home run and four RBI’s. Pearce was once again designated for assignment where the Orioles eventually claimed in.

Through three teams in 2012, Pearce batted .239 and raked in 26 RBI’s with four home runs in 61 games played.

Texas Rangers v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Baltimore Orioles: The Second Stint

Pearce’s second stint with the Orioles was much better than his first. He appeared in 44 games for the O’s in 2013 where he hit .261 with four home runs and 13 RBI. For the 2014 season, Pearce signed a one-year extension for just under a million big ones.

Pearce had them made the Opening Day roster for the 2014 Orioles. After making the Opening Day roster, Pearce was the designated for assignment and released by the O’s before the re-signed him quickly after.

Pearce had a fantastic 2014 season where he earned AL Player of the Week honors once and set career highs in major offensive categories. During that 2014 season, Pearce hit 21 home runs, notched 49 RBI’s, scored 51 runs, hit 26 doubles and had a batting average of .293.

The first baseman got a major salary upgrade in 2015, signing a $3.7 million dollar deal with the Orioles. His 2015 season was not nearly as successful as his 2014 season. He ended the year with 15 home runs, had a batting average of .218 and an OBP of .289 through over 92 games.

Tampa Bay Rays

After his second stint with the Orioles, Pearce signed a one-year deal with the Rays worth about $4.75 million dollars. He was also eligible for $1.25 million in bonuses as well. Pearce was utilized as the designated hitter for the Rays but also saw some time playing almost every infield position. In 60 games with the Rays, Pearce hit .309 with 10 home runs.

Baltimore Orioles: Three Times the Charm?

The Baltimore Orioles… again? Yes. The Rays traded Pearce back to the O’s for Jonah Heim in 2016. Pearce played in 25 games with the O’s, batting .217 with three home runs and six RBI’s.

There wasn’t much to this stint with Baltimore as Pearce went on to sign with the Blue Jays in the Winter of 2016.

Toronto Blue Jays

Pearce signed a massive contract with the Blue Jays, the biggest of his career, worth $12.5 million dollars. Pearce and Kendrys Morales were signed to fill the hole of the departure of slugger Edwin Encarnacion.

During his time with the Jays, Pearce actually hit a walk-off grand slam, the third walk-off slam in Blue Jays history. A few days later, Pearce hit another grand slam becoming the first player in MLB history to hit multiple walk-off grand slams within the span of a week. With the 2017 Blue Jays, Pearce batted .252 with 13 home runs and 37 RBI in 92 games. With the 2018 Blue Jays, Pearce only appeared in 26 games where he hit .291 with four home runs and 16 RBI’s.

Boston Red Sox

The best day of Pearce’s baseball life was probably when he got word that he was traded to the Boston Red Sox, his childhood favorite team. Being traded to the Red Sox marked Pearce playing for all five AL East teams. In his debut game with the Red Sox, Pearce made a great impression going 2-for-4 despite losing to the Yankees 8-1.

In August, Pearce had one of the biggest games of his career. He launched three home runs and led the Red Sox to a 15-7 rout of their rival New York Yankees. After this game against the Yankees, Pearce was talked about as the best acquisition the Red Sox made at the trade deadline.

World Series - Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Five Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

During the regular season, Pearce batted .279 with seven home runs and 26 RBI’s in 50 games played. After an injury to Mitch Moreland in the ALDS, Pearce became the Red Sox starting first baseman. In the ALCS, Pearce hit a go-ahead home run to lift the Red Sox to an 8-2 victory over the Houston Astros.

The 2018 World Series was the biggest series of Pearce’s career. We all know what happened during this series, I get chills writing about it. In game four, Pearce hit a game-tying home run off Dodgers pitcher Kenley Jansen. The following inning, the star hit a bases clearing double, putting the Red Sox up 8-4 in a game they won 9-6.

Game five will be the most memorable for Pearce and Red Sox fans alike. In the first inning, the slugger hit a two-run home run off of Clayton Kershaw and added another home run in the eighth inning off Pedro Baez to put the Red Sox up 5-1.

We all know how this game went. The Red Sox went on to win the game and Pearce won his first World Series title. With his first World Series title came the honor of World Series MVP after having a phenomenal game five and a phenomenal series.

Steve Pearce has lived out his childhood dream, playing for the Boston Red Sox and winning a World Series. The MVP part was just a nice added extra. With Pearce now a free agent, will he end up staying on the Red Sox? Or will he sign a contract with another club?

Pearce never had an easy career. He just happened to come alive playing for Boston, his favorite team. After bouncing from organization to organization, Pearce could very well want to stay in Boston and play for the Sox. Hopefully the price is right and he decides to stay in the city he loves.