Pablo Sandoval has officially entered baseball lore this postseason after leading the San Francisco Giants to their second World Series win in three years. His Game 1 efforts were reminiscent of Babe Ruth as he joined Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols as the only men to homer three times in a World Series game.
Sandoval, who reminds me a lot of Ruth in build, herculean feat, and catchy nickname, won the World Series MVP on the back of one of the best all-around games a player could ever hope to have in the World Series. In Game 1, Sandoval went 4-4 with 3 homers, 4 RBI, and 3 runs scored. He would finish the World Series 8-16, a .500 batting average, with 3 home runs, a double, and 4 RBI. Sandoval, who hit only 12 home runs in the regular season, let his star shine brightest in the postseason, slamming 6 home runs and collecting 13 RBI in 16 games. His .364 average was worlds above his .283 line from the regular season
Those are surely Ruthian numbers if there ever were any. Sandoval’s performance deflated the Detroit Tigers who seemed to catch whatever was infecting the New York Yankees’ bats in the ALCS. The Tigers, were held to only a .159 average, the third lowest total in World Series history. Perhaps, the Tigers futility shed more light on Sandoval’s performance, enhancing it like chrome finish on a hot rod.
It wasn’t that long ago the Sandoval was having another type of Ruthian moment, having his team worry about his playing shape and putting him on an offseason training regimen. It is interesting that Sandoval, who at one time weighted north of 270 pounds and now weighs in a little over 230, had never taken training seriously, the way the greatest ballplayer of all-time never did.
Now, I am not saying that Sandoval is Ruth’s equal but there certainly some fun similarities. The shape of both men, considered, by athletic standards, to be out of shape, the heroic feats, the loveable smiles, the fantastic nicknames.
America learned to embrace the troubled man-child from Baltimore and will soon be overcome with Panda-fever as Sandoval takes his pedestal in baseball’s pantheon.