Maybe now they’ll buy his jersey.
Former Met Travis Jankowski became the first Stony Brook baseball alum last night to take the field and play during a World Series game.
Jankowski replaced Texas Rangers right fielder Adolis Garcia in the bottom of the eighth inning during the Rangers’ 3-1 win over Arizona in the third game of the Fall Classic. The Rangers now lead the best-of-seven series, 2-1.
Tonight, he is in the starting lineup and playing right field. In the third inning, he singled and scored a run as Texas grabbed an early lead.
Playing mostly as a defensive replacement, Jankowski, who played in a College World Series with Stony Brook, has appeared in five games during Texas’ playoff run this year.
Back in 2022, when the journeyman outfielder was off to a hot start with the Mets as a utility player, he famously joked that “No one’s gonna be buying my jersey.”
Then, he added: “But I still think there’s a big part of what I bring to the table that is very important and very needed to winning teams and championship teams, and that’s what we have in this clubhouse.”
Within days, his Mets teammates each had their own No. 16 Jankowski jersey; wearing them on the field before a game on May 13 in support of the speedster. Jankowski hit .333 with three steals, six runs scored and a .419 on-base percentage in his first nine starts with New York in 2022. The club was 8-1 in those games.Embed from Getty Images
By the end of May though, Jankowski had landed on the injured list. Later, his average dipped below .200, and he was designated for assignment at the end of July.
He was picked up by Seattle, but within three weeks was cut again by the Mariners. He re-signed with New York and finished the season playing for the Triple-A Syracuse Mets.
“No one’s gonna be buying my jersey. But I still think there’s a big part of what I bring to the table that is very important and very needed to winning teams and championship teams, and that’s what we have in this clubhouse” – Travis Jankowski pic.twitter.com/LSkTFcJEVb— SNY (@SNYtv) May 4, 2022
Fresh start in Texas
With Texas this season, Jankowski, now 32, hit .263 with 19 stolen bases and 30 RBIs in 247 at bats. In 620 innings played in the outfield, he did not have an error.
In 2012, Jankowski was the best player on a Stony Brook team that played in the College World Series. He was drafted that year by San Diego. A career .241 hitter, he has played in MLB nine seasons with six teams.
Stony Brook alum Joe Nathan came close to participating in the World Series. The four-time All-Star and 2009 American League Relief Pitcher of the Year played for the Giants in 2002, but spent most of the season pitching in the minors and did not appear in the team’s World Series defeat to the then-Anaheim Angels.
Joe Nathan celebrates Ranger win #91 forcing a wild card play-in game. 9/29/13 original image by Kelly Gavin pic.twitter.com/UNtYFjIIF1— Texas Edit Factory (@TexasEdits) September 30, 2013
Nathan pitched in the playoffs in six different seasons for four different organizations, including with the Texas Rangers in 2012. Though he never pitched in a playoff game past the division series.
Nathan was awarded a World Series ring by the Cubs in 2016 after pitching in three games for Chicago during the regular season, before he was cut by the team in July.
Fun fact: When Nathan as a Ranger in 2012 lost a bet that the New York Giants would beat the Dallas Cowboys, the New Jersey native had to wear full football gear and a Cowboys uniform during batting practice of a home game in Texas.
Jankowski is thrilled to be playing a vital role in Texas’ pursuit of its first World Series title. Game 4 is tonight at 8 p.m. on Fox.
Got to chat with Travis Jankowski on his various contributions to this club; on and off the field.— Abby Jones (@_abigaiiiil) October 30, 2023
Take a listen to the ultimate utility guy for the Rangers! #GoAndTakeIt | #WorldSeries pic.twitter.com/8VixMZVDlo