The State of Florida is represented by 13 players in the 2016 Major League Baseball World Series who are either natives of Florida, graduates of a Florida High School or played at a Florida college.
The 2016 National League Champions, the Chicago Cubs, have five Florida connections on the active player roster and three coaches with ties to the state of Florida. The Cleveland Indians active roster features eight players who have played baseball in the State of Florida.
The Cubs had four Florida players in their starting lineup for Game One Tuesday night with Fort Lauderdale native Anthony Rizzo at first base, Arlington Country Day High School graduate Javier Baez at second base, Pensacola native Addison Russell at shortstop and Tallahassee’s David Ross at catcher.
The Indians starting lineup also had four Floridians on the field for the first pitch with Hollywood native Mike Napoli at first base, Montverde Academy graduate Francisco Lindor at shortstop, former Florida Gateway College player Roberto Perez at catcher and Stetson University alum Cory Kluber on the mound.
“To have 13 of the 50 active players on the roster of the 2016 World Series team shows the quality of the baseball programs in Florida and the excellent training facilities available to the athletes as they mature,” said John Webb, President of the Florida Sports Foundation. “Major League Baseball rosters are well stocked with players who have spent a big part of their lives on baseball fields in Florida.”
The Chicago Cubs coaching staff includes manager Joe Maddon, who led the Tampa Bay Rays from 2006-2014 and an appearance in the 2008 World Series and bench coach Dave Martinez, who assisted Maddon with the Rays from 2008-14. Cubs First base coach Brandon Hyde was the manager of the 2009 Class AA Southern League Championship Jacksonville Suns team and managed the Class A Florida State League Jupiter Hammerheads. He spent a season on the Florida Marlins coaching staff under Jack McKeon.
Chicago Cubs active roster players with Florida connections – 5
David Ross, Catcher
Graduate of Florida High School, Tallahassee; College: University of Florida
Javier Baez, Infield
Graduate of Arlington Country Day High School, Jacksonville
Born: Fort Lauderdale; Graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Born: Pensacola; Graduate of Pace High School
Born: Hialeah; Graduate of Mater High School
Cleveland Indians active roster players with Florida connections – 8
Born: Orlando; Graduate of Boone High School and played at University of Central Florida
Born: Jacksonville; Graduate of Wolfson High School and played at Seminole State College
College: Stetson University
Born: Gainesville; Graduate of Buchholz High School
Born: Miami; Graduate of Ransom Everglads High School at played at University of South Florida
Roberto Perez, Catcher
Played at Florida Gateway College, Lake City
Graduate of Montverde Academy
Born: Hollywood; Graduate of Flanagan High School