It’s the third straight year a Lakewood High alum will be playing in the World Series and it could be a third straight winning a ring, but the Kansas City Royals will be doing their best to prevent that from happening. California also leads the world once again in most World Series alums, but one state just behind has more prominent players.
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Travis d’Arnaud and Matt Duffy were two years apart when they graduated from Lakewood High and that was a few years after Mike Carp played baseball at the school as well.
After Tuesday’s first game between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals in the World Series, all three can say they’ve been in the World Series and there’s a chance all three can say they’re a World Series champion.
d’Arnaud, a catcher for the Mets who hit two homers during the team’s National League Championship Series win over the Chicago Cubs, is the latest Lancer who’s earned a World Series appearance. The Class of 2007 grad follows Duffy (Class of 2009), who played last year for the world champion San Francisco Giants, and Carp (Class of 2004), who played for the 2013 world champion Boston Red Sox.
d’Arnaud and Duffy both received all-state honors from Cal-Hi Sports when they were at Lakewood. As a senior, d’Arnaud also was the Moore League Player of the Year. Duffy was all-state underclass as a junior.
All three players learned under the guidance of Lakewood head coach Walter “Spud” O’Neil, who has been at the school since 1984 and is the state’s fourth winningest ever with 821 career wins. Some of O’Neil’s wins, however, came during his first four varsity seasons at Colton.
Three of the state’s other coaching members of the career 500-win club also have former players in this year’s World Series.
Lucas Duda of the Mets is from Arlington of Riverside where he played for current head coach Gary Rungo. Rungo’s team at Arlington last season went 23-5, which improved to a reported 571-346-3 since he started there in 1985.
One of the Royals’ relief pitchers, Kris Medlen, is from Gahr of Cerritos where he played for retired head coach Tom Bergeron. Bergeron retired in 2004, one year after Medlen graduated, and finished with 635 victories.
Also of the Royals, of course, is former State Player of the Year Mike Moustakas of Chatsworth. He played played for current head coach Tom Muesborn, who returned to the school last season after coaching in college. Muesborn has 619 reported wins.
Based on the active rosters listed two days before the start of the Game 1 (it could change), here is the complete list:
New York Mets
Addison Reed (Los Osos, Rancho Cucamonga) Pitcher
Travis d’Arnaud (Lakewood) Catcher
Lucas Duda (Arlington, Riverside) First Base
Sean Gilmartin (Crespi, Encino) Pitcher
Kansas City Royals
Christian Colon (Canyon, Anaheim) Shortstop
Danny Duffy (Cabrillo, Lompoc) Pitcher
Ryan Madson (Valley View, Moreno Valley) Pitcher
Kris Medlen (Gahr, Cerritos) Pitcher
Mike Moustakas (Chatsworth) Third Base
•California once again leads the world for having the most players in the World Series. This fact never gets mentioned on telecasts and it may be true for a vast majority of World Series that have ever been played. The totals for this year are: California 9, Dominican Republic 8, Florida 7, Venezuela 4, Texas 3, Illinois 2, Virginia 2.
•It can easily be argued, however, that Florida has more prominent players in the World Series than California. The Sunshine State contingent includes Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer and Wade Davis of the Royals plus Daniel Murphy and Jacob DeGrom of the Mets.
•Medlen also would be our choice for the most inspirational Cal-Hi alum in this year’s World Series. He is only 5-foot-9 and was not a top prospect coming out of Gahr. He ended up at Santa Ana Community College after first going to El Camino J.C. where he was spotted by a scout or two and was chosen in the 10th round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Atlanta Braves. To get into the major leagues and stick, Medlen also has had to endure not one but two Tommy John elbow surgeries.
•As mentioned in last year’s World Series alums story, Mike Moustakas of the Royals was a member of perhaps the greatest high school team in state history. The 2007 Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year, who still holds the state record for career home runs at 52, played at Chatsworth and was a freshman in 2004 when the Chancellors finished 35-0 and were No. 1 in every national ranking. In our all-time team rankings, the only California team we have higher is Fresno of 1958, but it’s a close call and anyone saying Chatsworth should be No. 1 has a strong argument as well.
•Ryan Madson was a member of the 2008 World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies, which was a team that also included California players such as MVP Cole Hamels (San Diego Rancho Bernardo), shortstop Jimmy Rollins (Alameda Encinal) and second baseman Chase Utley (Long Beach Poly).