The Houston Astros conclude a historic year after having won the World Series title for the first time in their existence of 56 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Venezuelan second baseman José Altuve of great figure who projects them again favorites to revalidate it in 2018.
The Houston team, which now plays in the American League, surprised with the great performance provided by the young values within the team, but especially the exceptional work that Altuve had to become the most outstanding athlete in the professionalism of the United States. and among Latin Americans.
Altuve’s on-field contribution left no doubt that it was the key that allowed the Astros to first finish the regular season with the second-best record in the majors, and then beat, against all odds, the mighty Los Angeles Dodgers. in the «Autumn Classic».
This made him worthy of being voted Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the season in the American League, a responsibility that Altuve wants to demonstrate on the diamond with new challenges for next season.
Altuve, 27, feels that what he achieved during the 2017 season was something historic, but the most important thing for him lies in the philosophy that he still has room to grow individually and collectively in order to make the Astros a better team. in the future.
The Venezuelan second baseman, who survived the painful process of rebuilding the Astros, also won the title award that came at the time the city of Houston needed it most, devastated this year by the passage of Hurricane Harvey.
He is also aware that his projection has already transcended nationally and internationally so that from now on his work in the field will be followed with greater attention and scrutiny.
Not surprisingly, he has surpassed in popularity American professional athletes of the stature of the legendary New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James.
But Altuve, who played the All-Star Game on five separate occasions and led the major leagues this season with a .346 batting average – the best professional record – and his 204 hits put him at the top of the league. Americana, is ready to continue growing.
Despite being the first player in Major League history to lead his league in hits for four straight seasons, he also equaled his career-best home run record with 24 while producing 81 runs.
Altuve ranked second on the Young Circuit with 112 runs scored and third in both stolen bases (32) and .410 on-base percentage.
While the slugging was .547, sixth best, heading to be crowned as the second Astros player to be elected MVP, after Jeff Bagwell got it in 1994, when the Houston team was playing in the National League.
His strong performance in the regular season carried over to the playoffs, where he became an unstoppable force in the division series against the Boston Red Sox with a .533 batting average and a 1,133 slugging percentage.
But the most ironic thing about Altuve’s professional career is that he has always had to live with the stigma of raising doubts about his quality and whether he was capable of succeeding in Major League baseball, all due to his 1.68-meter height. tall (5.6 feet), making him the shortest player in the major leagues.
“Nobody believed that he was going to go that far,” Astros general manager, Mexican American Jeff Luhnow, told EFE Agency. “The confidence and belief that he has in himself is the best virtue that Altuve possesses, an exceptional person on and off the field.”
In fact, it has been more than a decade since Altuve signed with the Astros, when he was 16 years old, after being invited to an audition at the Houston team’s academy in Venezuela, where his stature conspired against him and he received no the notification to come back.
Stubborn as he does in his at-bats, Altuve came the next day and the Astros decided to have him stay and sign him for just $ 15,000, thanks to the perseverance of Al Pedrique, then assistant to the general management of the Houston team.
“It was something that me and my father (Carlos) decided at that time: ‘We have to go again, we have to try again,'” Altuve always remembers with pride. “They taught me never to give up if I want to get something and the money didn’t matter to me.”
Now together with Altuve, the Astros and the sport of baseball also have a group of young talents such as his teammates, Puerto Ricans Carlos Correa and George Springer, as well as Alex Bregman.
All of them recognize that without Altuve the transformation of the Astros, from being a team with more than 100 losses in a season to proclaiming itself World Series champion, would not have been possible.
They also have no qualms about admitting that working together with Altuve has allowed all of them to grow as players and people because in him they see the teammate who is always ready to give you all his support both on and off the field.