Travis Jankowski will become the first baseball player from Stony Brook University to take part in the World Series when the Texas Rangers take on the Arizona Diamondbacks in Major League Baseball’s fall classic, which begins October 27 in Texas.
Jankowski, a member of the Stony Brook Rita & Kurt Eppenstein Athletics Hall of Fame, joined the Rangers this year after spending last season with the Mets. He will share the experience with Rangers bullpen catcher Pat Cantwell, who was his teammate with the Seawolves when they shocked the world and made it to the College World Series in 2012.
“Three years as teammates and two years living together makes for a pretty good bond,” Jankowski told Newsday. “To carry that on to major-league baseball and all these cities has been really cool.”
Jankowski was National Co-Player of the Year when the Seawolves defeated six-time national champion LSU in Baton Rouge in a best-two-out-of-three NCAA Super Regional to advance to the College World Series. He was later drafted in the first round by the San Diego Padres and has played with six MLB teams over parts of nine seasons. He signed a minor-league deal with the Rangers prior to the 2023 campaign and has earned a regular turn in the outfield.
Cantwell, a former All-America East first team catcher, has been a bullpen catcher on the Rangers coaching staff for the last three years.
“You dream of this since you’re like four years old. You understand what a World Series is, so it’s complete and utter joy,” Jankowski told Houston TV station KHOU after the Rangers clinched their spot in the Series.
Stony Brook baseball coach Matt Senk told News12 Long Island that he told his former players to enjoy the ride, and said he wasn’t surprised to see Jankowski end up on the biggest stage in baseball.
“That’s typical Travis. He’s a grinder. He is resilient. He is tough minded. He’s positive,” Senk said. “That’s why even for the Rangers to pick him up, a team that picked him up he’s had a positive influence on.”