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SAN FRANCISCO -- This week, The Bear Republic welcomes former California baseball star and 2011 World Series Champion, Allen Craig to the podcast.
A native of Mission Viejo, Calif., Craig played four years for David Esquer's baseball Bears, playing shortstop and left field. He finished his career hitting a team-best .344 in 2006, with a team-high 76 hits, 39 runs, 15 doubles AND 11 home runs en route to being named Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 for the second straight season. Craig was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth round of the 2006 Major League First-Year Player Draft, and shot through the minor leagues, claiming a Pacific Coast League championship in 2009 with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds.
After starting hot in 2011 with a .336 batting average, Craig slammed his knee into an outfield fence on June 7 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Tex., trying to make a sliding catch, fracturing his patella. When he went down, Allen was hitting .348 against righties, with 23 RBI in 107 at-bats with a .928 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage). In 40 games before the injury, he slugged .523 with 16 runs, eight doubles and four bombs, with 23 RBI and four stolen bases in 107 at-bats.
Craig returned to the lineup on August 10, playing in 35 games, hitting .290 with 7 doubles, 7 homers and 17 RBI in 93 at-bats, slugging .591. Then came the playoffs. Craig slugged .622 with nine runs, a triple, four homers and eight RBI in the postseason, slamming three of his round-trippers in the World Series against the Texas Rangers.
In Game 7 of the World Series, Craig hit a third-inning circuit shot off of Texas' Matt Harrison to give St. Louis the 3-2 lead over the Rangers. The Cardinals would never tail again, going on to win 6-2.
That was Craig's third of the series, and, with that homer, he drove in the go-ahead run for St. Louis in four of the seven games against the Rangers, with the Cards going on to win three of those four games, the game 2 loss being the exception.