As the 2012 Major League Baseball Division Series begin this evening, a host of Kane County Cougars alumni begin their quest for a World Series title. Here’s a look at several former Cougars who are vying for a World Series crown this fall.
Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera (’01 Cougar), fresh off an historic Triple Crown regular season, pushes for his 2nd world championship as a major leaguer, the first coming nearly a decade ago. Cabrera was part of the ’03 World Series champion Florida Marlins squad. This season, Cabrera belted 44 home runs while driving in 139 batters and hitting .330 – all American League-best numbers. Detroit’s opponent will be the Oakland Athletics, winners of the American League West Division. Several former Cougars who were part of Kane County’s affiliation with the A’s from 2003-10 are expected to be on Oakland’s postseason roster. Oakland rookie pitcher Sean Doolittle (’07), who played as an infielder with the Cougars, has made 44 appearances out of the A’s bullpen and posted a 3.04 ERA, along with a 2-1 record. Doolittle’s bullpen teammate, pitcher Pedro Figueroa (’09), made 19 relief appearances this season. Infielder Cliff Pennington (’05) batted .215 with 6 home runs and 28 RBI. This is Oakland’s first postseason appearance since 2006.
San Francisco pitcher Santiago Casilla (’03-’04) was part of the 2010 World Series champion San Francisco Giants team, and is hoping to return to the Fall Classic after an impressive 2012 regular season. Casilla set a career high with 25 saves. The Giants square off against Cincinnati in one of the National League divisional matchups.
Since the Cougars’ inception in 1991, 120 former players have reached the major leagues, several of which have won accolades in the postseason, including World Series MVP’s Josh Beckett (’00) in 2003 with Florida, and Edgar Renteria (’93) with San Francisco in 2010. Past league championship series MVP’s include Beckett in 2007 with Boston, along with Nelson Cruz (’03) with Texas in 2011.
*Complete playoff rosters for teams have not been set as of Saturday.