Most of know by now that Daniel Murphy (Luray 2004-05) had a blistering National League Championship series, clubbing home runs in a record six straight postseason games, while leading the Mets to their first World Series appearance since 2000.
This binge reminded me of some other, older series when Valley League alumni had postseason success. Here are three for you to peruse, dear brilliant reader….
You have to start with Murphy. Murph, playing in his first postseason games as a big leaguer, crushed the LA Dodgers in the NLDS, hitting 333/333/810 in 21 at-bats, with a double, 3 runs scored, 3 home runs (off Clayton Kershaw twice, and Zack Greinke), and 5 RBIs. Then, on an even bigger stage, Daniel hit 529/556/1.294 in 17 at-bats in the NLCS against the Cubs. He scored 6 runs, hit a double, 4 home runs, and drove in 6 runs. He was easily the MVP of the series. Of course, you probably know that the hot streak ended. In the World Series against the Royals, Dan hit 150/320/150 in 20 at-bats, and committed a couple errors in the field. However, he will most likely be remembered for the blistering 38 at-bats before the ultimate series.
David Eckstein (Harrisonburg 1995-96) had an amazing run in the playoffs for the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals. Already possessing one championship ring (2002 Anaheim Angels), David saved his best hitting for the World Series in ’06. He hit 364/391/500 in 22 at-bats, along with 3 doubles and 4 RBIs, including 2 crucial RBIs in the Cardinals’ clinching 5th game against the Detroit Tigers. David was named MVP of the World Series.
Mike Lowell (Waynesboro 1993), the All-Star third baseman for the Boston Red Sox in 2007, drove in 120 runs in the regular season while hitting 324/378/501, and continued his hot hitting right through three rounds of playoffs. He hit 333/364/556 in the Red Sox’s three game sweep of the Angels in the ALDS, and followed that up with the line of 333/375/519 in the 7 games of the ALCS against the Cleveland Indians. He hit 2 doubles, a home run, and drove in 8 runs in 27 at-bats in that series. Then, the World Series. All he did was hit 400/500/800 in the 4-game sweep, along with 6 runs scored, 3 doubles, a home run, and 4 RBIs. He even stole a base against the Rockies. If you add up the three series, Mike scored 10 runs, hit 7 doubles, 2 home runs, and drove in 15 runs. He was named the MVP of the World Series.
Eckstein holding World Series MVP trophy in 2006