A late change to the Tampa Bay Rays’ roster gives them a second player from a California high school, which historically is a low total but not so much in recent years. There are a lot more from the Los Angeles Dodgers. We also have many more World Series facts & figures relating to California players since we’ve now just added an archive list of everyone from the state who’s played in the World Series for more than 50 years.
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In the Los Angeles Dodgers’ last attempt to win their first World Series since 1988, they had six players on the roster from California high schools when they took on the Boston Red Sox just two years ago.
The Dodgers will have six again when they meet the Tampa Bay Rays beginning this week in Texas. It’s just not exactly the same six.
Three of the six — third baseman Justin Turner, a Mayfair High of Lakewood grad, plus outfielder Joc Pederson (Palo Alto) and catcher Austin Barnes (Riverside Poly) — have been with the team since not just 2018 but also played in the 2017 World Series that went to a game seven against the Houston Astros.
Relief pitcher Dylan Floro (Atwater Buhach Colony) had not yet joined as a bullpen regular in 2017 but was there in 2018 and is still there.
The two newcomers since 2018 would be pitchers Tony Gonsolin (Vacaville) and Joe Kelly (Corona). Gonsolin pitched in Sunday night’s 4-3 game seven win over the Atlanta Braves and had a start earlier in the series.
Joe Kelly’s addition to the bullpen and him getting to another World Series is significant because he was the only member of the 2018 Red Sox team that beat the Dodgers in six games who is from a California high school. Kelly also was on the St. Louis Cardinals’ team in 2013 that played and lost in the World Series to the Red Sox so this will be his third appearance in the event for a third different team.
We could only find one other player from California who was on three different World Series teams and that would be Lonnie Smith, an outfielder from Centennial of Compton. Smith played in the 1991 and 1992 World Series for the Braves and was in the 1985 and 1982 World Series for the Kansas City Royals and Cardinals, respectively.
Pederson and Floro were all-state first team selections for us when they were in high school. None of the other four were as successful at that young age, but Turner was a league MVP and was a top recruit, eventually signing with Cal State Fullerton. Barnes was highly regarded as well and signed with Arizona State. Kelly was an outfielder at Corona and didn’t become a pitcher until playing at UC Riverside. Gonsolin had several mid-major offers and went to St. Mary’s College in Moraga.
Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts not only played baseball in the late 1980s at Rancho Buena Vista of Vista, but he also was an option quarterback for one of the most vaunted running teams in CIF San Diego Section history. The Longhorns went 13-0 and rushed for 5,369 yards in 1988. They won a section title at the highest level in 1989 with 5,831 rushing yards and were No. 4 in the final state rankings (the only teams higher were Fontana, Bakersfield and Merced).
Tyler Glasnow: Hart’s latest
It may be sad for us that it looked like the Tampa Bay Rays would only have one player on their current 25-man roster for this year’s World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but that one player is a good one.
That’s starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow, who is from Hart High of Newhall and has been announced as the starting pitcher for the Rays in Game 1. You can almost call Hart “World Series High” for its alumni connection to the fall classic.
In the Rays’ first and only other World Series appearance, which came in 2008 when they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies, one of their top starting pitchers was James Shields, who also is from Hart.
Hart also is one of those rare schools (we have more on that later) to have had two players in the same World Series. That happened in 2016 when both pitchers Trevor Bauer and Mike Montgomery were on the rosters of the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs, respectively. Those two were even on the same Hart team. It was Montgomery who got the last out in that epic seven-game series that ended the Cubs’ more than 100-year stretch of not having won a World Series.
Glasnow is a pitcher who stands 6-foot-8 and he gained a lot of that height during high school. He didn’t become a starter for the Indians until his junior season. He’s definitely one of those guys who’s gotten better and better each season.
On the morning before the World Series began, the Rays made two changes to their roster and one of those was the addition of lefty relief pitcher Ryan Sherriff. He replaced another lefty reliever and happens to be from Culver City. He came on as a pro prospect from his development at West Los Angeles College and Glendale Community College.
Our World Series alumni files now extend back to 1968 and in those more than 50 years there has only been two years in which one of the teams has had just one player from California. In addition to 2018 with the Red Sox and pitcher Joe Kelly, the only other one with just one has been the Detroit Tigers in 2006, which had only pitcher Joel Zumaya from Bonita Vista of Chula Vista.
Last year’s overall total of just five also was the lowest we have since 1968 and may be the lowest ever. MLB teams finding more and more players internationally is the primary reason for California’s decline in the numbers of players in the World Series and throughout the league in general.
The most players from California in any one World Series we’ve researched is 15. That was done first in 1984 with the San Diego Padres and New York Yankees and tied in 2002 with the San Francisco Giants and Anaheim Angels.
Schools With The Most World Series Alums
Hart of Newhall not only has had those four pitchers in the World Series in recent years, but also has had three other alums in the World Series.
In addition to Glasnow (2020), Bauer (2016), Montgomery (2016) and Shields (2008), there has been infielder Kevin Millar of the Red Sox (2004), infielder Todd Zeile of the Mets (2000) and pitcher Bob Walk of the Phillies (1980). Millar also played at University of Los Angeles and in 1988 that team when he was a junior won the CIF L.A. City Section 3A title. He graduated from Hart the following year.
Seven World Series alums is huge and might be first in the state and nation, but we know of another school in California with 10 — Fremont of Los Angeles.
Fremont also is believed to be the high school nationally that has had the most players to make it to the major leagues, but we don’t know that for sure. The Pathfinders had a high number of outfielders especially in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s that were all over baseball.
From 1981 through 1984, there were actually four straight World Series with a Fremont outfielder in it. The streak began with Bob Watson of the New York Yankees in 1981 and continued with George Hendrick of the Cardinals in 1982, Dan Ford of the Baltimore Orioles in 1983 and Chet Lemon of the Detroit Tigers in 1984.
Fremont hasn’t had a World Series player since 1990, but that one in 1990 was a good one as outfielder Eric Davis was one of the leading players on the Cincinnati Reds’ team that won the World Series that year.
Former Dodgers outfielder Willie Crawford also is from Fremont and so is outfielder Bobby Tolan, who played for World Series teams in both Cincinnati and St. Louis.
How did we come up with 10? That’s all from the 1946 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals. The Red Sox had two from Fremont — Hall of Fame second baseman Bobby Doerr plus center fielder/first baseman George Metkovich — while the Cardinals had infielder Nippy Jones. We’d be shocked if there has ever been any other World Series ever played that had three guys playing in it from the same high school but we don’t know for sure.
Of the players we have since 1968, we don’t have any schools with six who’ve been in the World Series but there is one with five and that’s Lakewood. The Lancers had one of their players in three straight World Series from 2013 to 2015 with outfielder Mike Carp (Red Sox), infielder Matt Duffy (Giants) and catcher Travis d’Arnaud (Mets). d’Arnaud was a key player for the Atlanta Braves’ team that just lost to the Dodgers on Sunday night.
Schools with four include Gahr of Cerritos, Encinal of Alameda and Edgewood of West Covina.
Schools With More Than One
Alum In Any One World Series
This is always a fun one to explore and we’ve already mentioned two of these instances above — for Hart of Newhall in the 2016 World Series and Fremont of Los Angeles for 1946 (which is the only time we know of with three players involved).
The 2002 World Series between the Giants and Angels also stands as even more unique because there were two different schools that each had two players make it. For Montclair Prep of Van Nuys, it could claim pitcher Russ Ortiz of the Giants and infielder Brad Fullmer of the Angels. For Los Alamitos, both of those from that school were on the Giants’ roster – closer Robb Nen and first baseman J.T. Snow. Montclair Prep, a private school that closed last year, also was where current Arizona Diamondbacks’ manager Torey Lovullo is from.
Other than Fremont in 1946, the first time we have one school with two players in a World Series (beginning with 1968) is El Monte for 1975. The Lions not only had Fred Lynn starring for the Boston Red Sox in that seven-game series loss to the Cincinnati Reds, but they also had second baseman Doug Griffin on the Red Sox roster.
The 2013 World Series between the Red Sox and Cardinals is the only other one we have with two players from one high school. That school is St. Francis of Mountain View and the players would be infielder Daniel Descalso of the Cardinals and outfielder Daniel Nava of the Red Sox.