Travis d’Arnaud, the Atlanta Braves catcher with Filipino roots, celebrated his first World Series championship after playing a key part in their six-game triumph over the Houston Astros.
D’Arnaud immediately celebrated with closer Will Smith near the pitcher’s mound of Minute Maid Park in Houston the moment shortstop Dansby Swanson threw the ball to first baseman Freddie Freeman for the final out as the Braves won their first title since 1995.
It was a dream that finally came true for d’Arnaud, who was part of the New York Mets’ Fall Classic defeat to the Kansas City Royals in 2015.
“It’s an honor to wear this shirt,” D’Arnaud told FOX 5 Atlanta while wearing the Braves’ championship shirt. “To finally be etched in stone as world champion is pretty cool.”
The 32-year-old, whose mother Marita is a Fil-American music teacher based in California, had a solid showing both in the batter’s box and behind the plate.
He hit .292 in 24 at-bats during the series with two home runs that came in Atlanta’s 7-2 loss in Game 2 and in the eighth inning of the 2-0 victory in Game 3.
Those homers made d’Arnaud the first player to hit a home run in back-to-back World Series games since the Braves’ Ryan Klesko in 1995 and also the first catcher to do so since Roy Campanella for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955.
But he received big praise for the way he helped the Braves pitching against an Astros team that had a bunch of great hitters like Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez.
Atlanta, with d’Arnaud calling the pitches, had starter Ian Anderson and relievers AJ Minter and Luke Jackson worked on a combined no-hitter in Game 3 until it was broken in the top of the eighth inning.
Braves catching coach Sal Fasano described d’Arnaud in a Sports Illustrated article as “like a warm blanket.”
“To me, that’s the greatest relationship you can have — the guys trust you because good, bad or indifferent game, he’ll always sit by you after,” Fasano said.