Jose Altuve, the 5′ 6″ Astros second baseman dubbed in Latin America “el pequeño gigante” — the little giant — hit a rocket off hard-throwing Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the 9th with two outs to defeat the New York Yankees, clinch the ALCS, and send the Houston Astros to the World Series.
The blast was Altuve’s fifth home run of the postseason. He was honored moments later with the ALCS Most Valuable Player Award in front of a home crowd of 43,357.
“The only thing I remember while I was running the bases was, I was just thanking God for another opportunity to go to the World Series,” Altuve said upon receiving the trophy. “I thank everybody in the ballpark, because you guys are the biggest reason that we’re here. And my teammates, they’re the MVPs of the game. I can’t wait for the World Series.”
In addition to his prodigious power and performance in the clutch, Altuve is known for his tiny size relative to other big-leaguers. Here is the 5’6″, 165-pound Altuve standing next to the Yankees’ 6′ 7″, 280-pound Aaron Judge:
Altuve hit .348 with a double, two homers and three RBIs in six games against the Yankees. In the previous series against the Rays, he hit .350 with a 1.281 OPS and three homers. He’s now reached base safely in 20 consecutive postseason games (a franchise record) dating back to Game 7 of the 2017 World Series.
“El pequeño gigante” is now the first-ever second baseman to win both a regular season MVP Award and a postseason MVP Award.
The Astros will face the Washington Nationals in the World Series. Game 1 kicks off the series on Tuesday at 8:08 p.m. EST.