ATHENS-----Alex Wood became the sixth former Bulldog to help his team win a World Series as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday to clinch their first title in 32 years.
The 29-year-old Wood, who attended Georgia from 2010-12, provided two perfect innings with three strikeouts in Tuesday’s 3-1 win to claim the title in game six of the best-of-seven series. The left-hander also pitched two scoreless innings in game two of the World Series last Wednesday. Wood is the third former Bulldog to reach the pinnacle of his sport this year, joining Super Bowl champion Mecole Hardman (Kansas City Chiefs) and NBA Finals champion Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Los Angeles Lakers).
Wood, a 6-4, 215-pound native of Charlotte, N.C., was part of a veteran Los Angeles Dodgers squad that was in its third World Series in the past four seasons. In his career, Wood has pitched in seven World Series games and owns a 1-0 record and 1.93 ERA. He made two appearances including a start in 2017 when the Houston Astros claimed the title in seven games. In 2018, he went 1-0 in three relief appearances against the Boston Red Sox who won the title in five games.
Wood is the latest Bulldog to win a World Series, joining shortstop Claud Derrick (1910-11, Philadelphia), pitcher Spurgeon “Spud” Chandler (1937-39, ’41, ’43, ’47, New York Yankees), pitcher Jim Umbricht (1960, Pittsburgh), pitcher Mitchell Boggs (2011, St. Louis) and pitcher Justin Grimm (2016, Chicago).
Wood was a second-round draft pick of Atlanta in 2012 after posting a 2.73 Earned Run Average for the Bulldogs, which was the lowest in a season by a starter in 24 years. He appeared in 32 games with 30 starts, winning 13 with a career ERA of 3.57. He tallied 180 strikeouts and only 47 walks in 204.1 innings pitched.
Wood made his Major League debut with the Braves in 2013 and was traded to the Dodgers in 2015. After four seasons in Los Angeles, he was traded to Cincinnati for the 2019 season but was limited to just seven starts for the Reds due to back issues. He signed with the Dodgers as a free agent this past January and then missed a month of the season because of a shoulder injury in his first start. Once healthy, Wood returned in a bullpen role. Wood’s finest season came in 2017 as a starter when he earned All-Star honors with the Dodgers, going 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA.
Wood is one of 10 Bulldogs who have been on teams that have advanced to a World Series. The others include catcher/infielder Kyle Farmer (2017-18, Los Angeles), pitcher Joshua Fields (2017-18, Los Angeles), third baseman Nolen Richardson (1939, Cincinnati) and infielder Jeff Treadway (1991-92, Atlanta). Also, of note, former Bulldog pitcher Derek Lilliquist, who spent eight years playing in the Major Leagues, earned a 2011 World Series Championship ring as a member of the Cardinals coaching staff. He was part of the Cardinals staff that returned to the Fall Classic in 2013.
The 2020 World Series was played at Globe Life Field, the $1.2 billion home of the Texas Rangers. It was the first World Series held at a neutral-site following a shortened 60-game regular season due to the worldwide pandemic. It was the Dodgers first title since 1988 and seventh overall for the franchise.