Oct. 26, 2010
In 2003, Ian Kinsler joined the Mizzou Baseball team, transferring to Missouri from Arizona State in hopes of joining a program where he could make an impact. On Wednesday, he will be on the biggest stage in all of baseball, as Kinsler and the Texas Rangers open the 2010 World Series against the San Francisco Giants.
Kinsler becomes the first Mizzou alumnus to reach the World Series since Tim Laudner played with the Minnesota Twins in the 1987 World Series.
Missouri's second-leading hitter in 2003, Kinsler finished that season with a .335 batting average, six home runs, four triples, 13 doubles and 45 RBI. He also stole 16 bases on the year. He was named to the All-Big 12 Conference second team following that season and later that summer became the 17th round draft pick of the Rangers.
The 496th player taken in the 2003 MLB Draft, it would have been hard to imagine what would take place for Kinsler over the next seven years. Two All-Star Game appearances and now a trip to the World Series have highlighted his rise to baseball's grandest stage.
His first year in the majors came in 2006, when he was named the Rangers Rookie of the Year after he hit 14 home runs in 120 games played.
After a .263 average with 20 homers in 2007, he hit .319 and had 18 home runs and 71 RBI in 2008. He finished fourth in the American League with the .319 average, making his first All-Star Game appearance that season. In 2009, he set a career-high in home runs (31) and RBI (86).
His numbers this season are down slightly due to spending time on the disabled list. He enters the Fall Classic with a .286 average, with nine home runs, 20 doubles and 45 RBI. He was selected to the All-Star Game in July, his second-career trip.
Kinsler has had a strong postseason thus far, hitting .342 (8-for-18) with three home runs, a double, a triple and nine RBI. All three of his homers came during the Divisional Series against Tampa Bay. He had three hits, including a home run, in the 5-1 series-clinching victory over the Rays.
Kinsler had at least one hit in each of the final three games of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees, driving in three runs in the series.
Laudner played in all seven games of the 1987 World Series, going 7-for-22 (.318), with one home run, one double and four RBI as Minnesota claimed the World Series title following a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7. His home run came in Game 2, helping the Twins to an 8-4 victory.
Game 1 of the 2010 World Series will start at 6:30 p.m. central time Wednesday on FOX.