By Joshua Parrott, Sports Writer
If you have either watched SportsCenter or opened a sports page in the past few days, you know the Anaheim Angels are playing in their first-ever World Series.
What some within the ACU community may not know is that the Angels might not be where they are today if not for the efforts of an Abilene native and an ACU graduate.
Anaheim rookie right-hander John Lackey is the son of ACU alum Derran Lackey, a longtime Abilene high school baseball and football coach and now head baseball coach at Mesquite Horn. The elder Lackey left Abilene this past summer to take the job in Mesquite and is also an assistant football coach for the school.
John, who started his first big league game against the Rangers at the Ballpark in Arlington and picked up the playoff-clinching win for the Angels, was an all-state first baseman and a former three-sport star at Abilene High. He was a two-time first team All-District player and batted .541 with 21 RBI’s as a senior.
After graduating from Abilene High in 1997, Lackey spent a year at the University of Tex-as-Arlington, playing first base and getting his very first chance to pitch.
He might not be where he is today if not for a silly moment during his time at UT/A. The 6-6 Lackey was goofing around during a practice while at UT/A when the coaches noticed he had a decent arm and gave him a chance to pitch.
He left the following year to play at Grayson County College, posted a 10-3 record with 88 strikeouts in 100 innings and hit .428 with 15 home runs and 81 RBI’s for the 1999 Junior College World Series champions.
His 9-4 record and two post-season victories has even earned Lackey the praise of Ana-heim manager Mike Scioscia, an all-star catcher for the Dodgers from 1980-1992. Lac-key has been nothing but a pleasant surprise for the An-gels, who made this year’s fall classic despite starting this season with a franchise-worst 6-14 record.
So if you have a chance, be sure to check out this year’s World Series. You might just catch a glimpse of a former Abilene legend.
And a future big-league all-star.