HOUSTON -- The new season is in full swing, but the Astros are not quite finished celebrating their historic World Championship run from 2017.
Well, check that. With the banner raised and their sparkling World Series rings now safely tucked away, the Astros are fully ready to shift their focus to the current season. But there was still one final order of business -- honoring the several individuals who garnered some of Major League Baseball's top honors.
Prior to Friday's game against the Padres, three Astros were presented with prestigious awards for their accomplishments last year. Jose Altuve received his American League Most Valuable Player Award, and Justin Verlander and George Springer were presented their American League MVP and World Series MVP Awards, respectively.
Altuve and Springer also received their Silver Slugger Awards as the best offensive players at their positions.
"Being able to present some awards to some of our best players and our best examples is pretty cool," manager AJ Hinch said. "It's a historic season we had and it continues to be remembered in an appropriate way."
Verlander was honored for two stellar performances that propelled the Astros to the AL pennant. In Game 2, he threw a 124-pitch complete game in a 2-1 win over the Yankees that gave the Astros a 2-0 series lead.
In Game 6, with Houston facing elimination, Verlander threw seven shutout innings as the Astros beat the Yankees, 7-1, to even the ALCS at three games apiece.
Springer was 11-for-29 with three doubles, five homers and seven RBIs in the World Series, becoming just the third player to hit five home runs in a single Fall Classic, joining the Yankees' Reggie Jackson in 1977 and the Phillies' Chase Utley in 2009. One of the homers was a clutch two-run shot that broke open Game 7.
"To have three MVPs on the same team, in the same clubhouse -- Justin, and George as the World Series MVP, that's awesome," Altuve said. "They deserve what is happening to them."
Altuve received 27 of 30 first-place votes in an MVP race that was expected to be closer, considering the tremendous season that Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge had. But Altuve, who won his third career batting title with a .346 average and led the AL with 204 hits, garnered 405 points, well ahead of Judge's 279.
Altuve and Jeff Bagwell are the only Astros players to win league MVP Awards. Bagwell was named National League MVP in 1994.
During an on-field presentation, Altuve, Springer and Verlander were presented with special paintings by sports artist Opie Otterstad depicting their 2017 triumphs.
The ceremony also served as a reminder about just how much talent occupies the Astros' roster.
"This is a pretty talented team, from the top to the bottom," Springer said. "To have guys like J.V. and Altuve on your team doesn't happen very often, let alone [to] have them both at the same time. It's hard to have even one. It's honor to be their teammate. It's a good weekend for the organization."
The Astros are celebrating "Champions Weekend" throughout their series with the Padres. They gave away replica World Series trophies Friday and will hand out replica World Champions rings on Saturday. Sunday's giveaway is a commemorative World Champions poster.