While the stain on Houston's first championship might never completely fade, Alvarez's majestic three-run homer helped fashion a fresh crown for the Astros - and the first for Dusty Baker as manager - in a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 6 on Saturday night.
“What happened before, it doesn't ever pass over completely,” said Baker, the veteran manager hired by the Astros in the wake of their sign-stealing scandal. “But we have turned the page and hopefully we'll continue this run.”
Alvarez blasted a ball over the 40-foot batter's eye in center field during the sixth inning immediately after Phillies starter Zack Wheeler was pulled with a 1-0 lead.
As Alvarez's 450-foot shot sailed, Astros starter Framber Valdez jumped and wildly screamed in the dugout while the crowd of 42,958 went crazy waving orange rally towels.
“When I was rounding second base, I felt the whole stadium moving,” Alvarez said through a translator.
The 73-year-old Baker finally got his first title in his 25th season as a manager. He's spent the past three with the Astros after they hired him to help the team regain credibility after their trash can banging scheme cost manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow their jobs, and made Houston the most reviled team in baseball.
"I wasn't here in 2017, but it's definitely a weight off of everybody's shoulders. Ain't nobody can say [anythin] now," said closer Ryan Pressly, who finished the Series with another scoreless inning.
Baker, who won a World Series as a player with the Los Angeles Dodgers and had been to the Fall Classic twice before as a skipper, is the oldest championship manager in any of the four major North American sports. The win came 20 years after a near-miss, when he came within five outs of taking the title while guiding the San Francisco Giants.
“What's next? I said if I win one, I want to win two,” Baker said afterward.
Houston's coaching and training staffs circled around Baker after Nick Castellanos flied out to end it, jumping up and down, and chanting “Dusty! Dusty! Dusty!” in the dugout before they joined the players on the field.
Astros rookie shortstop Jeremy Pena was the World Series MVP after getting another key hit, a single to set up Alvarez's homer. Jerseys worn by Pena and Baker during the Series were headed to the Hall of Fame.
Alvarez homered for the first time since going deep in the first two games this postseason. Christian Vazquez added an RBI single later in the inning to make it 4-1.