Wednesday night, the Texas Rangers won their first World Series title with a 5-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, and right in the middle of the celebration was Texas Tech baseball legend, Josh Jung. It was a memorable postseason run for the All-Star third baseman who wins a world title in his rookie season.
During the playoffs, Jung was a steady force at the place and a rock defensively at third base. In 66 postseason at-bats, he registered 19 hits, (second-most on the team behind shortstop Corey Seager, who was named World Series MVP for the second time in his career) for a .311 average.
He also came up with three homers and eight RBI. Though he didn’t drive in a run in the World Series, he did manage to collect six hits and score two runs while hitting .375.
Of course, for a while in August and September, it was not guaranteed that he would be able to participate in the postseason. Catching a screaming line drive with the palm of his left hand on August 6, he had to have surgery on his thumb which put his season in jeopardy.
He would return on September 18th, though. However, for the remainder of the regular season, he would hit just .196 with 3 RBI as the Rangers lost the American League West Division lead to the Houston Astros, forcing them to get into the playoffs as a wild card team.
As the calendar flipped to October, though, Jung seemed to find his footing at the plate. He would drive in a run in both of his team’s wins over the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card round while going 2-3 with a double and a triple in game two.
In the divisional round, as Texas swept the No. 1 seeded Baltimore Oriels, Jung stayed hot. Going 5-13 (an 0.385 average) he was one of his team’s most consistent hitters. That included a solo homer in Texas’ nail-biting 3-2 win to open the series.
The American League Championship Series saw Jung and the Rangers battle the defending World Champion Houston Astros. He would collect only five hits in that epic seven-game series but he did drive home five runs. Four of those came in game three when he hit a pair of two-run homers.
Jung got hot again in the Fall Classic, though. In the five-game series, he would collect seven hits, including three in an 11-7 game-four win.
He would also score two runs in game four (including the game’s opening run) as well as one in the game-five clincher. However, it might have been Jung’s defense that was even more important to his team’s success.
In 17 playoff games, he would make only one error on 48 defensive chances. What’s more, he made some of the most incredible defensive plays of Texas’ title run.
Perhaps his signature moment came in game three of the World Series. In the second inning, Jung bare-handed a line drive that had careened off of starting pitcher Max Scherzer’s elbow and threw out the runner at first.
Jung has become one of the best defensive third basemen in baseball. That’s ironic given that many scouts questioned his defensive ability when he was drafted despite the fact that he was a shutdown defensive shortstop at Tech during his last year in Lubbock when the team needed him to move over from third base.
Now, Jung is a world champion in his first full season as a major leaguer and given how many Red Raider fans are also Rangers fans (myself included), seeing his success in Arlington this year only makes this World Series Title all the more satisfying. Congrats to Josh Jung for being a key cog in what will be a Texas Rangers team that will forever be immortalized in baseball history.