A former Kane County Cougar is a World Series champion yet again, marking the 8th time in the past 10 years that the World Series-winning team has included at least one former Cougars player on its championship roster.
Former Cougars pitcher Santiago Casilla, who spent time with Kane County in 2003 and 2004, will add a second world championship ring to his collection after the Giants swept the Detroit Tigers in this year’s World Series. While the excitement level of this Fall Classic may not have been comparable whatsoever to last season’s thriller between the Cardinals and Rangers, you have to appreciate the fact that the Giants – in two different postseason series, no less – were on the brink of elimination before storming back to advance deeper and deeper into the playoffs.
When the stakes were highest, Casilla simply delivered this postseason. The right-hander made 11 appearances, posting a 1.29 ERA and allowing just one earned run. Two of those appearances took place in the World Series, and Casilla worked 1.1 innings of scoreless relief against Detroit.
This time of year brings to mind some former Cougars, in addition to Casilla, who will always be part of World Series history. You can start with Edgar Renteria (’93 Cougar), who was not just a part of multiple Fall Classics, but will be remembered for his game-winning hit as a young Marlins infielder in the 1997 World Series, as well as his game-winning home run in the 2010 WS clincher for the Giants. The former Cougar, who has since retired, can look back and say that he played in the World Series with 3 teams (Marlins, Cardinals and Giants). Renteria was named World Series MVP in 2010. The most impressive statistic might be this: Renteria is one of four players in major league history to deliver two game-winning hits in two World Series – the other three are Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra.
Other World Series moments of note involving ex-Cougars:
– Pitcher Joe Blanton (’03) hitting the first World Series home run in 34 years, helping lead the Phillies to their first world championship since 1980.
– Outfielder Scott Podsednik (’97) hitting a walk-off home run for the White Sox in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series.
– Countless former Cougars, some of whom were only a year removed from playing at Kane County, leading the Marlins to the 2003 World Series. That list includes Miguel Cabrera (’01), Dontrelle Willis (’02) and Josh Beckett (’00), who was named World Series MVP that fall.
Ex-Cougars as recent World Series champions
2012 – Santiago Casilla (Giants)
2011 – None
2010 – Edgar Renteria and Santiago Casilla (Giants)
2009 – A.J. Burnett (Yankees)
2008 – Joe Blanton (Phillies)
2007 – Josh Beckett (Red Sox)
2006 – None
2005 – Scott Podsednik and Ross Gload (White Sox)
2004 – Kevin Millar (Red Sox)
2003 – Miguel Cabrera, Dontrelle Willis, Josh Beckett (World Series MVP), Mike Redmond, Luis Castillo, Alex Gonzalez, Michael Tejera (Marlins)