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Bay's stars can only envy duo

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times
published October 20, 2002


ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Tino Martinez is home. Fred McGriff is home. Gary Sheffield is home. Manager Lou Piniella -- as you may have heard -- is home.

Chone Figgins and Chad Zerbe are in the World Series.

Figgins, 24, is a reserve infielder for the Angels who went to Brandon High. Zerbe, 30, is a left-handed reliever for the Giants who played at Gaither High and Hillsborough Community College.

They are the two Tampa Bay area products in the Series.

"Everyone is watching," Figgins said.

Zerbe spent nearly all season with the Giants and was their most used left-hander out of the bullpen. He wasn't on the division series roster, then was added for the NLCS but did not pitch.

Figgins had a more interesting path. Acquired from Colorado in July 2001, he made an impressive leap to a starting job at Triple A this season, was called up to make his major-league debut in August and has been helpful enough, primarily as a pinch-runner, that the Angels have kept him around the entire postseason.

"It's been a crazy year," said Figgins, whose first name is pronounced Shawn. "I've just been trying to make the best of it. Getting to play in the World Series is an extra bonus. It's incredible. An unbelievable feeling."

Figgins, Colorado's fourth-round pick in '97, said he wasn't sure what to make of the trade.

"I got over here and they said, "We traded for you for a reason and now we want to see what you can do.' They gave me a big-league invite, I won a Triple-A job and now I'm here," Figgins said. "It's incredible."

* * *

QUOTE OF THE YEAR: Former Rays pitcher Mickey Callaway, an inactive member of the Angels roster, may have had the best answer of anyone when asked what it felt like to be in the World Series. "Unbelievable," Callaway said. "This is what you dream about as a kid, and you get to do it for seven days. So it's kind of like Hanukkah instead of Christmas."

DESIGNATED: Without a lot of good choices, the Giants chose outfielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo to be DH Saturday and batted him ninth. "Shinjo is a guy that hits left-handers pretty good, very good, probably one of the better guys on our team," Giants manager Dusty Baker said.

Baker had to make another decision: whether to put Shinjo in centerfield and move Kenny Lofton to DH. He stuck with Lofton, who knows the ballpark better from his years in the AL and feels more comfortable when he plays the field.

MISCELLANY: This is the first World Series between wild-card teams. ... The team with the homefield advantage has won 14 of the past 16 Series. ... Anaheim's Francisco Rodriguez, at 20 years, 285 days, is the youngest pitcher to be in the Series since 1970, when Cincinnati had Milt Wilcox and Don Gullett.

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