Former UCF and current Kansas City Royals catcher Drew Butera caught the World Series-clinching strikeout in the 12th inning of Game 5 of the Fall Classic last night, as his Royals defeated the Mets to take the crown.
As such, Butera becomes the first UCF Baseball player to ever win a World Series championship.
Here’s the final out, with Butera behind the plate catching the clinching pitch from Wade Davis:
Afterwards, Butera spoke with Kansas City TV station KMBC-TV. Here’s the link, since it’s not embeddable.
UCF wasted no time in celebrating Drew’s, and the program’s, milestone:
Butera has had an eventful postseason. In Game 4 of the Divisional Series against Houston, Butera drew a key walk that helped ignite a rally that pushed the series to a fifth and deciding game.
His dad, Sal, is a coach with the Toronto Blue Jays, which put Drew in a bit of an awkward situation during the ALCS. The Royals went on to beat Toronto, and are now on top of baseball’s mountain for the first time in 30 years.
Butera, now 32, has bounced around the majors as a defensive backup catcher, although he has played first and even pitched in three games (Career: 0-0, 3.75 ERA, 3 Ks in 3 appearances – two with the Dodgers). Originally drafted by the Mets in 2005, he spent five years hacking around in the minors before finally getting the call-up with the Twins in 2010. After three years in the Twin Cities, Butera was dealt to the Dodgers in 2013, and then to the Angels this past December. The Angels then sent him to the Royals on May 7th of this year in return for former Miami Hurricane Ryan Jackson.
Butera also represented Italy in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, and he’s also caught two no-hitters in his career – from Josh Beckett and Francisco Liriano.
With the Royals, Drew appeared in 45 games in Salvador Perez’ stead, hitting .198 with one homer and five RBI. For his career, he’s a .185 hitter with nine home runs and 60 RBI, but he has a .991 fielding percentage behind the plate.
In three appearances this postseason, he’s drawn a walk in two plate appearances.
As a bonus, Drew’s hair was the subject of this local feature from Karen Kornacki of KMBC-TV. Again, here’s the link.
After graduating from Bishop Moore and not signing with the Blue Jays after the 2002 Draft, Butera developed into an All-American candidate and a semi-finalist for the Johnny Bench Award at UCF from 2003-2005. For his career, he hit .305 with seven homers and 103 RBI in 168 games over three seasons.
Incidentally, the guy Butera backs up, Perez, was named the MVP for his contributions across all five games for the Royals. But the cool part is that, for the rest of time, it’s UCF’s own Drew Butera who is the catcher celebrating that final out of the 2015 World Series, and is the first-ever UCF Knight who can call himself a World Series champion: