Houston Astros Jeremy Pena celebrates during a World Series baseball championship parade Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, in Houston. Credit: David J. Phillip / AP

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Jeremy Pena won a big election Saturday night. No, not that kind of election.

After an incredible rookie season as the new shortstop for the Houston Astros, and after an inspired performance in the playoffs, Pena was voted World Series MVP as he helped his team win a championship at baseball’s highest stage. Success, even under the weight of great expectations and high pressure, has not seemed to phase Pena at earlier points in his baseball journey — including the three years he spent at the University of Maine.

In 2018, when he was named one of the top shortstops in the country by Baseball America, the then-Black Bear took it all in stride.

“It feels good. You kinda just take it and let it out,” Pena said at the time, as reported by Bangor Daily News sports reporter Larry Mahoney. “You keep focusing on your game and your team.”

That focus and perspective might have something to do with the fact that Pena’s father, Geronimo, also played in Major League Baseball.

“I’ve gotten a lot of advice from a lot of people, especially my family,” the younger Pena said back in 2018. “I’m just going to go out and play my game and let things play out from there.”

They’ve played out pretty well so far for the 25-year-old. Pena is the first position player in MLB history to win the World Series MVP award as a rookie. He also already has the American League Championship MVP and a Gold Glove in his rookie season trophy case, now along with a World Series ring.

Pena hit .345 in the playoffs with four home runs and eight RBIs. He hit .400 in the World Series and was the first rookie shortstop ever to win a Gold Glove. Despite all the personal accolades, Pena made it clear Saturday night that his team’s success mattered more.

“These guys kept me within myself, the preparation every single day. Individual awards are cool and all, but that’s the trophy we want,” he said while pointing to the trophy awarded to the World Series champions, as reported by the Associated Press. “Put the camera on that, right there.”

“This is what we dream about,” Pena also said after Saturday’s series-clinching win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

That dream has been years in the making. But Pena’s success didn’t exactly come out of the blue. His coach at the University of Maine made it quite clear what he thought of his abilities at the time.

“I think he’s the best defensive shortstop in the country,” UMaine head baseball coach Nick Derba said in 2018. “I played with nine major league shortstops and he’s as good as any of them.”

With his performance this year, Pena has proven this to be true not only at the collegiate level, but on baseball’s biggest stage. And, he’s managed to stay focused on his team and not himself. That is some fittingly out-of-this-world success for a guy who plays for a team named the Astros.

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The BDN Editorial Board

The Bangor Daily News editorial board members are Publisher Richard J. Warren, Editorial Page Editor Susan Young, Assistant Editorial Page Editor Matt Junker and BDN President Todd Benoit. Young has worked...