Ben Zobrist Wins 2016 World Series MVP Award

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 3, 2016

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Ben Zobrist #18 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates after he hits a RBI double in the 10th inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Ben Zobrist has been named Most Valuable Player of the 2016 World Series while helping the Chicago Cubs secure their first title since 1908.

The outfielder had the game-winning RBI double in the 10th inning of the dramatic Game 7 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

Baseball Reference noted the historical importance of the game-winning hit:

Baseball Reference @baseball_ref

Based on that, Ben Zobrist just got the 6th highest leverage hit ever in a #WorldSeries Game 7 https://t.co/MLBWd31z1O

He also finished the series batting .357 with a .419 on-base percentage, getting a hit in six of the seven games.  

Zobrist has now won back-to-back titles after winning the World Series with the Kansas City Royals last season.

ESPN Stats and Info provided an interesting note on the veteran player:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Ben Zobrist: 1st player to win World Series MVP in first season with team since Jermaine Dye, 2005 White Sox (was with Athletics in 2004)

Per Odds Shark, the No. 4 hitter had 10-1 odds to win this award coming into the series, tied for second-best among Cubs players behind only Jake Arrieta. He lived up to expectations with a strong performance throughout the seven games.

He finished with a .250 batting average and five RBI in 17 postseason games.

His wife, Julianna, provided motivational words from her view of the big play:

Julianna Zobrist @JuliannaZobrist

Cubbie fans never walk out. We never quit. We never stop believing. And my man always comes to play. DID SOMEONE OR… https://t.co/78rcQuchCa

Buster Olney of ESPN discussed the lack of pressure Zobrist had put on himself in these big games:

Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN

Zobrist said yesterday that he's felt like he's done well in this series because he hasn't tried too hard; works ball through middle.

Of course, with a team like this, there were plenty of other options for MVP. Woody Paige of the Gazette noted the possible options:

Woody Paige @woodypaige

MVP? I got Russell. Or Lester. Or Schwarber. Or Ross. Or Bryant. Or Hendricks. Or hell if I know. Cleveland outfielders.

Kyle Schwarber batted .412 in his appearances as a designated hitter after missing most of the season. Anthony Rizzo hit .360 with some clutch RBI, while Kris Bryant was responsible for some of the biggest moments in the series.

The pitching staff also had some big moments, although Justin Verlander was voting for a sentimental favorite:

Justin Verlander @JustinVerlander

If Cubs win I think Ross should get MVP. #happyretirement #HeroesGetRememberedButLegendsNeverDie

David Ross hit a key home run in his last game before retiring.

Still, it was Zobrist who took home the hardware, helping break the longest championship drought in professional sports in his first season with the team.