Austin Barnes Becomes 10th Different Sun Devil to Win World Series
PHOENIX – Sun Devil Baseball alumnus Austin Barnes made history for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday as he helped lead his squad to its first World Series Championship since 1988.
Barnes was an instrumental part of the victory, earning the nod at catcher for the fourth time of the series. With Tampa Bay's Blake Snell absolutely dealing into the sixth inning, Barnes broke through with a base-hit single to center that chased Snell with the Dodgers trailing 1-0.
Barnes would move to third on a Mookie Betts double and score on a wild pitch to even the game at 1-1.
From there, Barnes let his glove do the work as he maintained his perfect career fielding percentage in World Series games at catcher.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 28, 2020
Barnes became the 10th different Sun Devil to win a World Championship ring as a player. All told, 16 different Sun Devils have combined for 31 appearances over 20 Fall Classics with 19 total rings between them. A Sun Devil has been on the roster of 13 World Championship teams since 1969 and have combined for 10 appearances in the World Series since 2010.
Barnes' three appearances are tied for second in Sun Devil history behind only the legendary Mr. October, Reggie Jackson, who made it to six World Series – winning five of those. Barnes is tied with Rick Monday, Sal Bando, Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler for the second-most World Series appearances.
Barnes had another literal historic effort in Game 3 of the series as he became just the second player in World Series history to record a home run and a squeeze bunt in the same game, a feat that only Hector Lopez of the 1961 World Champion Yankees had ever achieved.
A safety squeeze. A home run. Catching a @buehlersdayoff gem.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) October 24, 2020
Austin, Texas. pic.twitter.com/0lvJcAHey6
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 24, 2020
Born in Fullerton and raised in Riverside, the Dodgers had not won a World Series in Barnes' lifetime - until Tuesday evening.
Regardless of his backup catcher title, Barnes was the personal catcher for Clayton Kershaw during the regular season and shepherded Walker Buehler in the postseason. And despite the "backup" title, the Dodgers have leaned heavily on Barnes in their last three World Series appearances as he has earned the nod at starter in 15-of-18 of those.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts credits that decision with the fact that Barnes excels on defense, calls a great game and never gives away an at-bat. In 2020, Barnes was ranked third in the MLB in StatCast's catcher-framing metrics, converting 52.8 percent of non-swing pitches into called strikes in the "shadow zone" – pitches roughly one ball-width inside or outside of the zone.
"It just shows how much we trust him in big games," Roberts said after the Dodgers Game 3 victory.
Tuesday, he was tasked with a different challenge with the Dodgers opting for a bullpen day in Game 6. Barnes was the backstop for seven different Los Angeles pitchers, helping limit the Tampa Rays to just one run on five hits. It was the first time in the postseason he didn't start with Kershaw or Buehler.
The Dodgers staff walked just two batters in the contest, striking out 16 – including Julio Urias finishing things out with a pair of backwards Ks. Barnes didn't need to do any framing on the final out of the game, swiftly tucking the Championship ball into his back pocket before joining the ceremonial dogpile in the middle of the infield.
Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes after Julio Urias got the final out of the World Series. Photo by @WallySkalij
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) October 28, 2020
Barnes was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection in 2011, starting 41 games at catcher and finishing with a .320 average witgh a homer and 15 RBI. He added 14 doubles, 12 walks and 27 runs and finished with a .994 fielding percentage. He was also an honorable mention All-Pac-10 pick following his sophomore season in 2010.
All-Time Sun Devils in the World Series
Austin Barnes, [3 WS, 18 games, 15 starts] (6-47, .127, .139, .147, 4 RBI, 1 HR, 1 double, 4 runs, 1.000 fielding percentage on 100+ chances)
Not known for his offensive prowess, Barnes had some of the biggest offensive moments of the 2020 postseason en route to his first World Series title in three appearances with the Dodges. Barnes had the base hit single the decisive Game 6 against the Tampa Bay rays that chased ace Blake Snell as the Dodgers trailed 1-0. Barnes would score the game-tying run before catching the game-ending strikeout. His defensive stability will be what Dodgers fans remember him for after a disastrous effort by the catcher in Game 4. Barnes was tasked with working with seven different pitchers in a bullpen effort and the crew responded with 16 strikeouts to just two walks in a dominant effort.
Andre Ethier, 2-5 (.400, .500, .400, 1 RBI)
Ethier was efficient as a pinch hitter for the Dodgers in 2017, logging two hits and an RBI in the clutch in a tough 4-3 series loss to the Astros.
Jason Kipnis, 9-31 (.290, .313, .581, 2 HR, 3 double, 4 RBI, 6 runs)
Kipnis took scoring into his own hands during his 2016 World Series appearance, scoring six times and batting in four runs. Although his two home runs and .290 batting average wasn't enough to power the Indians to the World Series title, his talent and scoring ability always puts his teams into World Series contention.
Dustin Pedroia, 3 WS, 10-42 (.238, .289, .381, 1 HR, 3 double, 5 RBI, 7 runs)
In 2007, three years after Boston breaks "the Curse of the Bambino" Pedroia won Rookie of the Year and took the Red Sox to his first of two World Series appearances. In 10 games, Pedroia has batted in five runs and has scored seven himself in route to two rings.
Ian Kinsler, 3 WS, 13-51 (.255, .377, .294, 10 BB, 3 RBI, 2 SB, 3 runs)
Kinsler played in 12 World Series games with the Texas Rangers and hit a remarkable .293 and a .431 on-base percentage. He showed his patience and outstanding batting ability by walking 10 times and almost leading his teams to victory, just coming up short. He made the most of his one hit in the 2018 World Series for the World Champion Red Sox with his lone hit of the series recording an RBI.
Barry Bonds, 8-17 (.471, .700, 1.294, 13 BB, 6 RBI, 4 HR, 2 doubles, 8 runs)
Barry Bonds took his only World Series appearance to incredible heights. Bonds holds the record for most times walked in a World Series with 13, and also holds the record for most intentional walks in a World Series with seven. Although Bonds hit with a spectacular .471 batting average with four home runs, two doubles and six runs batted in, the Giants were unable to win game seven and the World Series.
Marty Barrett, 13-30 (.433, .514, .500, 4 RBI, 2 doubles, 5 bb)
Barrett played in seven World Series games and got at least one hit in each of the games. He had a .433 batting average, hit two doubles, and worked five walks, but ultimately was unable to bring Boston the World Series title.
Reggie Jackson [27 games/5 WS, 2x WS MVP], 35-98 (.357, .451, .755, 10 HR, 24 RBI, 1 triple, 7 doubles, 21 runs, 1 SB)
Reggie Jackson -- rightfully dubbed "Mr. October" -- is the king of the postseason. He played in five World Series, winning two World Series MVP awards, first in 1973 for the Oakland Athletics and second in 1977 for the New York Yankees. He hit a record five home runs, batted .450 and scored 10 runs with eight RBI's in the 1977 World Series. Jackson had a postseason career .357 batting average, .457 on-base percentage, and a .755 slugging percentage hitting 10 homeruns in 27 games with 24 runs batted in.
Larry Gura, 2 games started, 12.1 IP, 2.19 era
In 1980, Gura pitched in two World Series games for the Kansas City Royals, and in 12.1 innings, pitched a 2.19 ERA with 4 strikeouts. He ended up with no decisions in both his starts with the team eventually losing in both games, but Gura's performance did not go unnoticed, as a he continued his career through five more years of solid pitching.
Sal Bando [3 WS, 19 games] 14-68 (.206, .295, .265, 4 RBI, 1 triple, 2 doubles, 10 runs, 8 bb)
Starting with the Kansas City Athletics and staying with them through their move to Oakland, Bando played in three different World Series (19 games) for the Athletics in Oakland. He helped the A's score more than 14 runs through three different World Series wins in his 15-year career.
Gary Gentry, 1 GS, 1 Win, 6.2 IP, 0.00 era, 3 hits, hitting 1-3 (1 double, 2 RBI)
Called to the show his rookie year, Gentry did not disappoint. He pitched in game three in the 1969 World Series and went 6.2 strong innings without giving up a run and only allowing three hits. Not only did his solid pitching performance help win the game, but also batted 1-3 with a two RBI double and led the New York Mets to a 5-0 win against the Baltimore Orioles.
SUN DEVILS IN THE WORLD SERIES
2020: Austin Barnes, Los Angeles Dodgers (W vs. Tampa Bay Rays, 4-2)
2018: Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler, Boston Red Sox (W vs. Los Angeles Dodges, 4-1), Austin Barnes; Los Angeles Dodgers
2017: Andre Ethier and Austin Barnes, Los Angeles Dodgers (L vs. Houston Astros, 4-3)
2016: Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians (L vs. Chicago Cubs, 4-3)
2013: Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox (W vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 4-2)
2011: Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers (L vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 4-3)
2010: Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers (L vs. San Francisco Giants, 4-1)
2007: Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox (W vs. Colorado Rockies, 4-0)
2002: Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants (L vs. Anaheim Angels, 4-3)
1995: Mike Devereaux, Atlanta Braves (W vs. Cleveland Indians, 4-2)
1989: Ken Phelps, Oakland Athletics (W vs. San Francisco Giants, 4-0)
1986: Marty Barrett, Boston Red Sox (L vs. New York Mets, 4-3)
1981: Ken Landreaux and Rick Monday, Los Angeles Dodgers (W vs. New York Yankees, 4-2); Reggie Jackson, New York Yankees
1980: Larry Gura, Kansas City Royals (L vs. Philadelphia Phillies, 4-2)
1978: Reggie Jackson, New York Yankees (W vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-2), Rick Monday, Los Angeles Dodgers
1977: Reggie Jackson, New York Yankees (W vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-2), Rick Monday, Los Angeles Dodgers
1974: Sal Bando and Reggie Jackson, Oakland Athletics (W vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-1)
1973: Sal Bando and Reggie Jackson, Oakland Athletics (W vs. New York Mets, 4-3)
1972: Sal Bando and Reggie Jackson, Oakland Athletics (W vs. Cincinnati Reds, 4-3)
1969: Duffy Dyer and Gary Gentry, New York Mets (W vs. Baltimore Orioles, 4-1)