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This wasn’t a perfect fairy tale, though. That would be too easy.

After he arrived in St. Louis, Freese was arrested for DUI and found to have a blood alcohol level of .232 _ nearly three times the legal limit. He needed season-ending surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right ankle last year, and he broke his left hand when he was hit by a pitch this season. He was hit by another pitch in August and sustained a concussion.

Each time, he came back better than before.

He was at his best against Texas.

In the World Series opener, with the game tied in the sixth inning, Freese delivered a timely double. He alertly moved to third base on a wild pitch, allowing him to score easily for the eventual winning run on Allen Craig’s single to right field.

Freese scored the Cardinals‘ only run in a 2-1 loss in Game 2, and then drove in a pair of runs in a 16-7 victory in Game 3 _ a performance that will be forever overshadowed by Pujols‘ three homers.

Nobody could overshadow Freese in Game 6.

After committing a critical error when an easy popup bounced out of his glove, Freese more than made up for it with his bat. Down to his final strike, his two-run triple in the ninth forced extra innings, and he joined Bill Mazeroski, Carlton Fisk, Kirby Puckett and Joe Carter as the only players to hit a game-winning homer in Game 6 or later of a Fall Classic.

That’s pretty select company.

Much like the company he’ll enjoy as MVP of the World Series.

“I’ve had plenty of days in my life where I’d thought, you know, I wouldn’t even be close to being a big leaguer,” Freese said. “I’m here because of everyone around me. They put so much trust in me to accomplish, not just baseball, but stuff in life. To do this, I’m just full of joy.”