Omaha Alums Set to Face off in World Series
The 2019 World Series will once again have an Omaha flavor, with both the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals boasting two former Omaha players on their roster and/or coaching staffs. Astros skipper A.J. Hinch (2001) will look to win his second title in a span of three years, while Houston right-hander Zack Greinke (2004), along with Nationals hitting coach Kevin Long and assistant hitting coach Joe Dillon.
Greinke is the lone active player from either side expected to play in the Fall Classic. In his only season with the Omaha Royals in 2004 at 20 years of age, he accumulated a 1-1 record and 2.51 ERA (8 ER/28.2 IP), adding 23 strikeouts compared to six walks. He split the 2019 campaign between the Astros and Arizona Diamondbacks, combining for an 18-5 mark and 2.93 ERA (68 ER/208.2 IP) with 187 strikeouts. Greinke is currently expected to get the nod in Game 3 of the World Series on Friday evening.
Hinch in his only season with the Omaha Golden Spikes in 2001 recorded a .321 batting average (54-168) in 45 matchups, adding ten homers and 33 RBI. He is also believed to be the last player to hit the Rosenblatt Stadium scoreboard with a home run. Currently in his fifth season as Astros manager, Houston posted a 107-55 record (.660), the best mark in baseball this year, and has tallied a 481-329 mark (.594) with the Astros.
Long over the course of three seasons with the Omaha Royals (1992-93, 95) compiled a .234 average (100-427), along with 42 runs, 21 doubles, three triples, one homer and 33 RBI, in addition to 13 steals. He is currently in his second season as Nationals hitting coach after previously serving in the same role with the New York Mets (2015-17) and New York Yankees (2007-14), earning a World Series ring with the latter in 2009.
Dillon in 45 games with the Omaha Golden Spikes in 2000 hit .282 (42-149) with 19 runs, 11 doubles, two triples, one homer and 11 RBI. He is currently in his second year with the Nationals as assistant hitting coach after beginning his coaching career with the Miami Marlins as the organization's minor league hitting coordinator for two seasons.
With Omaha alums on both sides, 2019 would mark the eighth consecutive year a player who has worn an Omaha uniform has won the World Series dating back through the 2012 season. Going back further to the 2008 campaign, an Omaha Royals, Golden Spikes or Storm Chasers player has won the World Series in all but one of those years, with the lone exception coming in 2011.
The 2019 edition of the Fall Classic begins on Tuesday evening in Houston.
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