Oct. 25, 2010
For the third time in the past five years, there will be a Gaucho in the World Series.
For the first time in history, there will be two Gauchos.
Yes, UC Santa Barbara baseball has been represented well in the Fall Classic. In 2006, Skip Schumaker was with the eventual champion St. Louis Cardinals. In 2007, Ryan Spilborghs played with the Rockies.
This year, two more former Gauchos will make their World Series debuts and they're both veterans.
Six-time All-Star Michael Young of the Texas Rangers.
And 2002 Cy Young winner Barry Zito of the San Francisco Giants.
The kicker? Both played together on the 1997 Gauchos. And both were highly regarded in that 1997 season.
Young was an All-Big West First Team selection while Zito was a Freshman All-American.
UCSB head coach Bob Brontsema recruited both Young and Zito to the program.
"Seeing Mike smile on TV - that pure, unadulterated joy," Brontsema said, "it almost makes you feel like a proud parent."
There is, however, a chance that the two will not even face each other. Despite a wealth of previous postseason experience during his time with the Oakland A's, Zito has not been on the Giants' playoff roster in either the Division or the Championship Series.
Zito is a combined 4-3 with a 3.25 ERA in six postseason series, all with Oakland.
Young has played in every one of the Rangers' games, hitting .255 with a home run, seven RBI and three doubles this postseason, his first as a pro.
However, despite all the pub that Young got about finally making the playoffs - he had played the second-most games among active major leaguers before playing into the postseason - it wasn't his first taste of playoff baseball.
"I don't know what all the fuss is about," Brontsema said, tongue firmly in cheek. "He made the playoffs as a Gaucho in 1996."
To access an entire list of former Gauchos who are currently in the pros, please click here.
The Gaucho Fund, launched as part of the Dare to Be Great strategic plan, is UCSB Athletics' annual giving program to provide vital funding support for scholarships, academic success and leadership development for Gaucho student-athletes. The Gaucho Fund is the anchor to the Dare to Be Great campaign.