CLEVELAND — Cleveland Indians legend Sandy Alomar Jr. knows well what it means to win the MLB All-Star Most Valuable Player Award in his home park, and he was happy to see that club grow by one this week.
Indians starting pitcher Shane Bieber was named the Ted Williams MVP Award winner for the 2019 MLB All-Star Game at Progressive Field in Cleveland Tuesday night, becoming the second member of the organization to win the honor in front of the home fans.
An Indians Hall of Famer, Alomar Jr. was the first-ever home-team MVP in All-Star Game history in 1997, and he welcomed Bieber to the exclusive club in a video shared to the team’s official Twitter account shortly after this year’s game.
“Shane, congratulations,” Alomar Jr. said. “Your three strikeouts were amazing in that inning. I’m so proud of you that you are another Indian that won the MVP on their own hometown turf, and I’m very proud to be part of the organization.
“You should be proud, also. I’m so happy you won the MVP. Thank God, you kept it in the house. Alright, baby.”
Bieber won the award after throwing a perfect inning and becoming the first Indians pitcher to strike out the side in the MLB All-Star Game.
On in relief during the top of the fifth inning, Bieber set down the National League, 1-2-3, with three strikeouts to preserve a 1-0 lead for the American League after four-and-a-half innings of play in the 2019 MLB All-Star Game.
As the crowd chanted “Let’s go, Bieber” loudly and proudly, Bieber wound up and struck out Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. looking for the final out of the top of the fifth inning.
Bieber began the inning by striking out National League starting catcher Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs looking. With a 2-2 count, Bieber threw his third consecutive four-seam fastball that froze the hitter and recorded the first out.
Against Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte, another National League starter, Bieber had to fight his way through the at-bat, as he threw three pitches out of the strike zone. However, after failing to locate back-to-back fastballs, Bieber got Marte swinging at a knuckle curve that dropped out of the zone.
Another length at-bat followed, as Acuna Jr. twice fouled off pitches to stay alive at the plate, but after running the count full, he took an 85-mile-per-hour slider for a called third strike.
Along with Alomar Jr. and Bieber, Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez is the only other player in MLB All-Star Game history to win the MVP Award in his home park.