Long before Red Sox first baseman Steve Pearce was named the 2018 World Series MVP, Pearce was a kid growing up in Lakeland, Florida a die-hard Red Sox fan. Pearce's father was from Rehoboth, Mass., and the Red Sox fandom was passed down to Pearce and his two younger brothers.

When Pearce was a junior at the University of South Carolina, the Red Sox selected Pearce with the 305th pick in the 10th round of the 2004 MLB Draft. Pearce would have been part of a draft class that included second round pick Dustin Pedroia. But Pearce turned down his childhood team and returned to South Carolina for his last season with the Gamecocks.

Fourteen years and seven teams later (which included playing on all four AL East teams), Pearce was traded to the Red Sox by the Toronto Blue Jays. Pearce's transaction page on Baseball-Reference gives a look into the 35-year-old's full-circle journey. And it certainly hasn't been all smooth sailing for Pearce. He was released twice in two years; in 2012 by the Minnesota Twins and in 2014, by the Baltimore Orioles.

After Game 5 of the 2018 World Series where Pearce hit a two-run home run off of Clayton Kershaw and tacked on a another home run in the eighth inning off Pedro Baez, the 35-year-old told reporters that winning the World Series with the Red Sox was a long time coming for him.

"This has been a lifelong journey and to be here right now is a dream come true," Pearce said. "I've gone through a lot in my career to be here and I couldn't be more thankful."

Pearce is now a free agent after the best performance of his career on the biggest stage in baseball, but he's made it clear that he'd like to return with the Red Sox for the 2019 season.

"That's something I leave up to my agent to do, but myself personally, I would love to come back," Pearce said, per MassLive.com. "This has been a fun year. And I'd love to do it again next year."

Red Sox fans were excited when Boston acquired Pearce to give the team some depth at first base. But I'm sure in the wake of the trade Red Sox fans never thought that their team had acquired the hero of the 2018 World Series.