A thumb injury to the Houston Astros’ Jake Marisnick prevents California from having one school with two players (and former teammates) in this year’s World Series. It wouldn’t have been that unusual for that to have happened as it did just last year. The state, meanwhile, returns to its customary position with more World Series alums than any other state or nation. It’s still a low total with seven and the most interesting alum from a state record standpoint is actually Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts.
RELATED:See last year’s World Series alums for lists of schools that have had two players in the Fall Classic.
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As this year’s Major League Baseball playoffs were getting close, there was a chance that former Riverside Poly teammates Austin Barnes of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Jake Marisnick of the Houston Astros would be facing each other in this year’s World Series.
Those teams made it and opened the series on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium, but Marisnick did not. He suffered a fractured thumb during a slide into second base in mid-September in a game at Anaheim and it was determined after the Astros eliminated Linden’s Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees that the thumb wasn’t yet ready for Marisnick to be added to the World Series roster.
As rare as having two teammates or two players from one high school in the same World Series sounds, it’s actually not that rare for a California high school. In fact, it happened just last year when Mike Montgomery of the Chicago Cubs and Trevor Bauer of the Cleveland Indians both played in the World Series with both hailing from Hart High of Newhall. Montgomery also was the pitcher who got the last out for the Cubs in Game Seven as they broke a streak of not having won a World Series that went back to 1908. The twosome from the same school has happened at least four other times as well and also just four years ago for St. Francis of Mountain View.
Dave Roberts & State Football Records
Our annual World Series alums feature also requires a check of the managers and we have a great one this year with the Dodgers’ Dave Roberts, who is from Rancho Buena Vista of Vista. Note: Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch is from Oklahoma.
The Dodger media guide states that Roberts “led his squad to the San Diego Class 3 A State title in 1990.” Well, that’s kind of correct and kind of wrong.
The year Roberts quarterbacked the Longhorns under then head coach Craig Bell was 1989 (Roberts graduated from the school in 1990) and yes it was the CIF San Diego Section 3A title that they won, but it wasn’t a state title. We didn’t have state championships until 2006. The year before, in 1988, when Roberts also was the starting QB, RBV went 13-0 and won the second-highest divisional title in the San Diego Section. The Longhorns in 1988 also were the Class 3A State Team of the Year, an honor that Cal-Hi Sports bestowed on them at the time. The 1988 4A State Team of the Year and overall State Team of the Year was Carson (12-1).
The bottom line, though, is that Roberts was an integral piece of a great football team. He expertly operated the Longhorns’ Wishbone offense and in RBV’s 21-7 win over defending champion Morse in the 1989 San Diego 3A section title game he threw a six-yard TD pass to junior running back Markeith Ross. The week before Roberts and the Longhorns avenged their only loss on the field with a 56-36 triumph over San Diego Point Loma.
For the season, Roberts’ team ended 13-1 on the field but had two forfeit losses. In the final 1989 state rankings, the Longhorns were fifth behind only Fontana (14-0), Bakersfield (13-0) and Merced (14-0).
Ross was one of two running backs that Roberts handed the ball to who rushed for more than 2,000 yards. The other was O.J. Hall and they became the first duo from the same team to both rush for more than 2,000 yards in California history. As a team, RBV also set a state record at the time with 5,831 yards for rushing and came just three points short of setting what would have been a state record at the time for season scoring with 622 points. In Roberts’ junior year, RBV also had set the state team rushing record with more than 5,700 yards. Those totals today aren’t that close to state records, but at the time it was pretty sensational.
Roberts was, of course, even better in baseball for the Longhorns and declined an offer to play quarterback in the option at Air Force. He eventually walked on to UCLA, became a speedy, standout outfielder and eventually had a 10-year career in the major leagues.
Here is this year’s World Series Alumni List
(all from California high schools):
Los Angeles Dodgers – Justin Barnes C (Poly, Riverside); Brandon Morrow P (Rancho Cotate, Rohnert Park); Joc Pederson OF (Palo Alto); Justin Turner 3B (Mayfair, Lakewood); Chase Utley INF (Long Beach Poly).
Houston Astros – Chris Devenski P (Gahr, Cerritos); Joe Musgrove P (Grossmont, La Mesa).
World Series Alumni Notes
•California’s total of seven this year is one of the lowest since 1999 and just one more than six from last year, which is the lowest. However, that’s still better than any other state or nation. Georgia is second this year with five.
•California had a streak of leading the nation or tied for first from 2009 to 2015 so now it is eight times in the last nine years. The highest California total ever for World Series alums is 15 for the 2002 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Anaheim Angels. The state also was in double-digits recently with 10 in 2012, 11 in 2011 and 10 in 2010.
•Justin Turner’s two-run homer in Game 1 and him being co-MVP in the NLCS with Chris Taylor means he’s a strong candidate already to be MVP of this year’s World Series. The last MVP from a California high school was pitcher Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008. He’s from Rancho Bernardo of San Diego.
•Five football players at Brandon Morrow’s former school had their homes destroyed in the recent Sonoma County/Napa County wildfires. The Cougars, however, have had a good week so far. They beat Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa on Monday night in their first game back after the fires and improved to 7-0. Then they all sat back and watched Brandon pitch on Tuesday in the World Series. Cardinal Newman, by the way, has a former World Series MVP in 1996 when John Wetteland was a shut-down closer for the Yankees.
•Palo Alto High has been having alums do well in all major sports in recent years. In addition to Joc Pederson, there’s football coach Jim Harbaugh, NBA point guard Jeremy Lin and football wide receiver Davante Adams.