Sept. 29, 2011
Fullerton, Calif. - Cal State Fullerton Hall of Famer and College World Series Legend Mark Kotsay is headed to the postseason with the National League Central Division champion Milwaukee Brewers.
The Brewers are division champions for the first time in the National League and the first time since 1982. They will be squaring off against the Western Division champion Arizona Diamondbacks in the short best-of-five National League Division Series at Miller Park in Milwaukee beginning Sat., Oct. 1 at 2:07 p.m. EST. The games will be televised on TBS.
The winner of that series will face the winner of the St. Louis-Philladelphia series in a best-of-seven match-up for a trip to the World Series.
Kotsay, a veteran of 15 big league seasons, is making his third career appearance in the postseason dating back to his first year in majors with the 1997 World Series champion Florida Marlins. Despite earning a ring, Kotsay played in just 14 games that year was not on the postseason roster for the Marlins.
The outfielder from Santa Fe Springs, Calif., waited 1,284 games before playing in his first postseason game with the Oakland A's in 2006 and then extended his season again with the Boston Red Sox in the 2008, reaching as far as the league Championship Series both times.
Kotsay is a key member of "The Rescue Squad," a nickname he gave to the group of Brewer reserves that include veteran Craig Counsel and back-up catcher George Kottaras.
Despite serving in a limited capacity, Kotsay has found his way into 104 ballgames for rookie manager Ron Roenicke's ball club. The left-handed hitting outfielder hit .270 in the regular season with three home runs and 31 RBI and had a couple of key hits and RBI for the Brew Crew down the stretch. In back-to-back games against the Cincinnati Reds in mid-September, Kotsay combined to go 3-for-5 with five RBI including a pair of doubles in the series sweep of the Reds.
Overall Kotsay has appeared 17 postseason games to date and has a home run and two RBI to his credit while hitting just .229 in 70 at bats. With that home run, he became just the fourth player in the divisional-play era (since 1969) to hit an inside-the-park home run in a postseason game (Oct. 5, 2006). Two of the three others, like Kotsay, hit theirs on artificial turf: Craig Nettles at Kansas City (1980 ALCS) and Ray Durham at Minnesota (2002 ALDS). Hall of Famer Paul Molitor is the last to do it on a natural grass field (at Anaheim in the 1982 ALCS) while with the Brewers. Kotsay's two-run, four-base hit proved to be the game winner as the A's went on to defeat the Twins, 5-2, in game two of the ALDS.
Kotsay put together a remarkable three-year career for Cal State Fullerton as an outfielder and relief pitcher. He led the Titans to their third national championship in 1995 when he batted a then-school record .402 and posted a 0.31 ERA with 11 saves en route to becoming the school's third Golden Spikes Award winner.
He was the Most Outstanding Player of the 1995 College World Series and was later named the Player of the Decade (1990s) by Baseball America and a member of the 50th anniversary all-time College World Series team in 1999.
Kotsay hit a career .404 with 45 home runs and 216 RBI from 1994 to 1996 and became the school's seventh first-round draft pick when he was selected ninth overall by the Marlins his junior season.