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The World Series MVP may have never played baseball if not for a chance game of catch with a future big leaguer when he was 8 years old

George Springer is now a World Series MVP thanks to Torii Hunter.

David J. Phillip/AP

  • George Springer is your 2018 World Series MVP after hitting five home runs over the course of the seven game series.
  • Springer is now a seasoned pro, but he might’ve never made it to the majors if not for a chance encounter with Torii Hunter.

After an absolutely enthralling seven game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Houston Astros are World Series champions and center fielder George Springer was named World Series MVP.

Springer earned the award with huge swings, tying Reggie Jackson’s World Series record with five home runs over the course of the series, including some incredibly clutch hits in the extra innings nail-biters that came to define the series.

Since he was taken by the Astros in the first round of the 2011 draft, Springer was seen as a potential star of a future Astros dynasty, even gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated when the magazine boldly predicted that the team would become 2018 World Series Champions three years before it became a reality.

But Springer might have never made it to the majors had it not been for a chance encounter with Torii Hunter during Springer’s youth.

As Tom Verducci wrote in a profile of Springer back in August for Sports Illustrated, the future Astros slugger was just eight years old when he was attending a New Britain Rock Cats game, the Double-A affiliate for the Minnesota Twins. While Springer was scavenging for batting practice home run balls one day, a then-minor league playing Hunter asked if the 8-year-old Springer wanted to play catch.

“He changed my life,” Springer says. “I got a chance to play catch at the time with what I thought was a big leaguer. I didn’t know any better. He’s playing on a big diamond in a stadium with lights and a big scoreboard. It made me want to play baseball even more.”

“There was something about the way he played, the style of his game, that I became interested in. He was always having fun, climbing a wall if he had to, sliding into home plate headfirst. I gravitated toward that stuff. He became my idol that day.”

The rest, as they say, is history. Springer went on to get drafted, make the majors, and became friends with Hunter after being reintroduced in the big leagues. And now, he’s a World Series champion and MVP.

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