Oct. 5, 2012
BERKELEY -Showing the strength of the Cal baseball program, six former Golden Bear standouts - first baseman Allen Craig of the St. Louis Cardinals, outfielder Brennan Boesch of the Detroit Tigers, outfielder Xavier Nady of the San Francisco Giants, pitching coach Bryan Price of the Cincinnati Reds, right-hander Tyson Ross of the Oakland A's and manager Bob Melvin of the Oakland A's - are in the thick of Major League Baseball's playoff run to the World Series.
The 2012 Major League Baseball playoffs began today (Oct. 5) with Craig's Cardinals defeating Atlanta, 6-3. Craig was instrumental in St. Louis' win in the one-game Wild Card contest, hitting an RBI double in the fourth inning Craig's Double Versus Atlanta and a single in the eighth inning. The Cardinals will now face the Washington Nationals in the National League playoff series beginning Sunday.
Craig, a shortstop/outfielder at Cal from 2003-06, is familiar with postseason heroics as he was a clutch performer in the Cardinals' 2011 World Series clinching 6-2 win over Texas. Craig hit his third home run of last year's World Series to give St. Louis a 3-2 lead in the third inning. He then robbed Nelson Cruz of a home run in the sixth inning with a leaping catch over the left field fence. Finally, Craig had the honor of snagging the final out of the game in left field to give the Cardinals their 11th all-time World Series title. He concluded the 2011 Fall Classic 5-for-19 with three home runs and five RBI.
As good as Craig was in 2011, he is possibly better in 2012. For this campaign he is batting .307 with 22 home runs and 92 RBI; and for his career he has a .300 average with 37 home runs and 150 RBI in three seasons with the Cardinals.
"Cal has five of its alumni in the Major League postseason and that is something to be proud of," said Cal coach David Esquer, who coached all four of the Bears' players competing in the 2012 MLB postseason, including Craig, Boesch and Ross during the 2006 college season. "It shows that this school produces great players who are carrying on Cal's tradition of excellence in professional baseball. These players give the Cal community an extra reason to watch the postseason."
Outfielder Boesch (2004-06) is batting .240 with 12 home runs and 54 RBI for the Tigers this season, and will be facing the local favorite Oakland A's Saturday in Detroit with right-hander Ross (2006-08, second round draft pick) and manager Bob Melvin, who was a catcher for Cal when it placed third at the 1980 College World Series.
Melvin's impressive A's clinched the American League West title Wednesday with a three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers.
Nady, who was the 1998 National Freshman of Year while a player at Cal and was a second-round draft pick in 2000, joined the Giants and their playoff run on Sept. 1 after being called up from Triple A Fresno. He has gone 12-for-50 with three doubles, a triple, a home run and seven RBI in 19 games with the Giants.
The Giants, the 2010 World Champions, play Cincinnati with former Giants' manager, Dusty Baker, and former left-hander and 2011 inductee into the Cal Hall of Fame Bryan Price as Baker's pitching coach, on Saturday in San Francisco.
The Cal Baseball Program, participants in the 2011 College World Series under Esquer, will celebrate its 2012 Alumni Weekend, Oct. 20-22. Included in the festivities for members of the Bears' baseball family and friends is an invitation to play golf at the beautiful Contra Costa Country Club on Monday, Oct. 22 for the annual Cal Baseball Foundation Golf Classic (click here for more information).
Bear supporters can enjoy a day of great stories, 18 amazing holes of golf, cocktail reception and a live/silent auction. A shotgun start for the golf tournament will begin at 10 a.m., concluding with the reception and auction around 5 p.m.
The Cal Baseball Foundation Golf Classic is part of an alumni weekend that begins with the Saturday, Oct. 20 Stanford-Cal Big Game at the newly renovated Memorial Stadium (time TBD).
On Sunday, Oct. 21 the annual Cal Alumni Baseball Game will be held, with on-field batting practice starting at noon and game time beginning at 1 p.m. at Evans Diamond. There will be a postgame BBQ immediately following the Alumni Game Sunday afternoon.
The schedule for the 2013 Cal baseball team is still being finalized due to potential televised games on the Pac-12 Networks, but the Bears will be hosting a three-game series against Michigan, Feb. 15-17 at Evans Diamond, to start the 2013 campaign. Cal will also be hosting exciting Pac-12 series versus USC, Oregon, Washington State, Arizona State and Stanford. Baseball fans should be on the lookout for the announcement of the date of one Cal baseball's special events as well - the second annual Fanfest at Evans Diamond.