After seven straight years of division titles the Los Angeles Dodgers have finally won the World Series in a year that maybe had the most adversity ever. With that came the fourteenth ever Sun Devil to win the Fall Classic, Austin Barnes. Since 1965 Sun Devils have played a variety of roles, both large and small in a team's quest to win the Commissioner's Trophy. By year here are the previous 13 and Austin Barnes.
1966: Jim Palmer BAL
The future hall of famers first postseason and the only Sun Devil to play in the pre-championship series times was a gem of a game for him. The Baltimore Orioles played the minimum against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Palmer was sent to the hill in game two. His incredible postseason success started with a complete game shutout ended with only four hits and six Dodger strikeouts.
1969: Duffy Dyer NYM, Gary Gentry NYM
The famous 1969 Series had three Sun Devils and featured the first Sun Devil duo to win it all in Catcher Duffy Dyer and right-handed starting pitcher Gary Gentry. Game three of the series may have well been Sun Devil night as Palmer and Gentry were on the mound. Unfortunately for Palmer the Mets jumped out early and scored three in the first two and the Orioles offense could not manage to scratch one across home. Palmer gave up four runs in six while Gentry managed to go six and two thirds with five(!) walks. Random fun fact, the pitcher who came in to close out the game for Gentry, Nolan Ryan. As for Dyer, he made his only appearance in game one as a pinch hitter and grounded out to short. The ring, however, is just as shiny as the rest of the teammates.
A quick note on the seventies, this really could be considered the “golden age” for ASU baseball as the only year without an ASU alum appearing in the world series was 1976.
1970: Jim Palmer BAL
Palmer had two more Gems to ring in the fall of 1971. Game one saw 8.2 innings of brilliance and kept a Cincinnati Reds offense that featured Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, and Tony Perez to three runs and was scoreless from the fourth inning on. Palmer was ready to win the series for the Birds come game four and looked poised to do so through the first seven innings having a 5-3 lead. Inning number eight would be trouble however and after walking Tony Perez and Johnny Bench’s single Palmer was pulled before facing Lee May. Relief pitcher Eddie Watt came in and with his fourth pitch thrown the Reds were up 6-5. The lead held and Baltimore had to wait until the next day with a commanding 9-3 victory.
In 1971 Palmer appeared once again, pitched two games, gave up five runs in 17 innings and Baltimore won both games he started, 1-0, pitched 9 innings of two run ball in game six. But you need to win more than two to win the World Series.
1972: Sal Bando OAK & Reggie Jackson OAK
The third almost blown 3-1 game lead in World Series history had Oakland holding on by a thread but they staved off the Reds to win the series. Oakland was without a very important piece however in ASU alum and all-star Reggie Jackson who missed the entire series with a torn hamstring he suffered in the Championship Series. Bando played third for all seven games but was not much of a contributor on the field for the first three games. The final four games were different however, as the third baseman had six hits and doubled the eventual go-ahead run for the Athletics in Game Seven. Off the field he was considered the vocal leader of the team too.
1973: Sal Bando OAK & Reggie Jackson OAK
The 73’ successfully did what the Reds could not, come back and defeat the New York Mets in seven. The Devil Duo Part 2 was none existent in Oakland's game one victory. In-game two, they brought the noise with a combined five hits and three RBI’s in what was a 10-7 loss. In-game three Bando did well going two for three with a double and scored the second run in a 3-2 Oakland win. The Athletics had a two to one-game lead. The Mets tied the series in game four and took the lead in game five. Their backs against the wall Jackson and Bando began producing. Jackson hit three doubles and scored two, Bando went 1-4 and was one of the two runners Jackson brought home. The second game seven for Bando and Jckson’s first was simply insane. In the bottom of the third, the legend of Jackson began with his first World Series home run, a two-run shot to deep right-center field and put the Athletics up 4-0. Six innings later Oakland won 5-1 and their second World Series in as many years. Jackson was awarded his second MVP award of the year after hitting .310 with 6 RBIs in the World Series.
1974: Sal Bando OAK & Reggie Jackson OAK
For their third straight appearance in the fall classic clearly, history had its eyes on the Athletics and Dodgers. The 102 win Dodgers threw away their shot however and lost in five games. Jackson homered in game one and only was better from there. Overall he hit .286/.474/.571 but the MVP award went to pitcher Rollie Fingers. The aging Bando counted as a run or scored one from game two till the end. He would not appear in another World Series.
1975: Pat Darcy CIN
Darcy had just one year in the Show before he and the Reds went to the Fall Classic. In what was the second of the three years he played in the major leagues Darcy went 11-5 with a 3.58 ERA in 27 games, 22 were starts. The righty’s World Series appearances against the Red Sox were not fun situations to be in. Starting with game three he pitched two innings of relief and gave up one run and walked two. The final score of the game was 6-5 Reds in what was a ten inning affair. Darcy was brought in for game six and faced only one batter, Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk. After throwing a first-pitch ball Darcy’s next ended in left field bleachers and Darcy never pitched in the World Series again. The Reds won the next game 4-3, Darcy had his ring, pitched one more season with the Reds before being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, and never cracked the roster. He will always have the Summer of 75’.
1976 is the year with no Devils, it would be worth it however for what the next two years would bring.
1977: Reggie Jackson NYY
There are plenty of World Series stars and legends but there are very very few World Series gods and in 1977 another one was conceived, our old friend Reggie Jackson. The series itself was a classic based on matchup alone as the Yankees were set to play against the Los Angeles Dodgers which brought back the nostalgia of the 1950s when the Dodgers were in Brooklyn and come October the scorecard almost always consisted of Jackie Robinson, Yogi Berra, Pee Wee Reese, and Mickey Mantle. There was another Sun Devil on the Dodgers, Rick Monday, who Jackson replaced in centerfield at ASU when Monday was drafted. Jackson was in town after signing with the Bombers the offseason prior and he was on a roll heading into the final game of the series with two home runs and a 1.155 OPS and then like a rocket he shot off. On three pitches the former Sun Devil saw he hit three home runs and the Yankees won 8-4 and Jackson collected his second World Series MVP award with a final line of .450/.542/1.250.
1978: Reggie Jackson NYY
Round two of Mr. October vs. the Dodgers went just as you would expect, .391/.500/.696. Another six-game series the Yankees won the final four games with a margin of 28 runs scored to 8. Bucky Dent walked away with the hardware but it was Jackson who cemented his legacy with his handful of rings and still had enough left in the tank for one more run….
1979 Palmer and the Orioles once again reach the series but are unable to defeat Roberto Clemente and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
1980 rung in the end of the seventies and a Lebron James esque type run of 9 Championship appearances in 10 years. Only time will tell if he can match the Sun Devil 12 in 14 run ASU had.
1981: Rick Monday LAD, Ken Landreaux LAD
The final of the Yankee/Dodger series landed in the final Sun Devil duo in the win column defeating Jackson and the New York Yankees in, you guessed it, six games. The team box scores were the actual inverses of 1978 with the Dodgers sweeping the final four games to win the series. Monday, the first number one overall pick ever in 1965, played in five games and hit .231/.375/.308 and Landreaux had one double and two strikeouts with six at-bats in five games.
1983: Jim Palmer BAL
One last time Palmer with the Orioles went to the Fall Classic and won for the third and final time. Overall Palmer in nine games, eight starts, he has an ERA of 3.20 in 64.2 innings pitched.
1984: Doug Baker DET
Currently still ASU’s most notable Tiger, Spencer Torkelson will be changing that soon, played 43 games for the Tigers, and was added to the ALCS roster. He played one innings at shortstop and was not included on the World Series roster but was given a ring. Not everyone can be Randy Areozareana and unlike him, Baker has a ring….
1989: Ken Phelps OAK
More than just the year Taylor Swift was born, 1989 brought the Oakland Athletics their first World Series title since Jackson and Bando’s threepeat. The first baseman and Designated Hitter, Ken Phelps just snuck onto the World Series roster and made just one at-bat with no success. Still, the 10-year journeying veteran finally had his ring.
1995: Mike Devereaux ATL
The Atlanta Braves won 14 consecutive division titles but this was their only World Series and it had a Sun Devil on it. Coincidence? I think not. Devereaux was a mid-season acquisition from the Chicago White Sox. The outfielder did not pan out exactly as hoped offensively but the defense was strong. He finished the six-game series with two walks, an RBI, and a hit in four at-bats.
The Void 1996-2006
If only someone was on fist when Barry Bonds homered….If only….
2007: Dustin Pedroia BOS
The second baseman’s first full season in the show could not have been more productive. He won Rookie of the Year and in the postseason against the Rockies, the lead-off hitter slashed a .278/.350/.500 mark in a four-game sweep.
In 2010 and 11 Ian Kinsler reached the World Series with the Texas Rangers but with no trophy to raise. You’ll hear from him again soon though.
2013: Dustin Pedroia BOS
The all-star was back and was hitting every ball within radius and the Red Sox played historic rival St. Louis Cardinals in a six-game series. The city of Boston in 2013 was still healing from the Boston Marathon bombing so this was a win that was much bigger than just one player and helped heal a city from tragedy. It was also their third championship in nine years after going 86 years without one.
Austin Barnes would appear in 2017 but The dodgers would lose with a bang to the Houston Astros
2018: Ian Kinsler BOS
Boston just is the city you wanted to be in during the 2010’s if you wanted to win. Kinsler was a mid-season acquisition as the Sox were trying to fill the hole of Pedroia being absent with his calf injury sidelining him for years now.
2020: Austin Barnes LAD
The newest member of the group Barnes played a crucial role not only catching Dodger Ace Clayton Kershaw and the bullpen game but also with his bat. While he only hit .154/.267/.385 he became the first player since 1961 to drive in a run with a home run and bunt in game three. Three games later it was the light hitting catcher’s base hit that caused the Rays to pull Ace Blake Snell.
With five Sun Devils drafted in 2020 and five more drafted in 2019, and others still active another true Sun Devil renaissance could be on the way soon.