Travis Shaw used to drive to Great American Ball Park for Reds’ games as a high school student at Washington Court House High School.
Even better than that he used to visit the clubhouse at Riverfront Stadium when he was six. His father Jeff was a Reds’ reliever, a setup man for Jeff Brantley.
He better remembers going to Dodger Stadium after his father was traded by Jim Bowden before the All-Star break in 1998.
Shaw didn’t exactly follow in his father’s foot steps in that he became an infielder, breaking in with the Boston Red Sox on May 8, 2015. He hit .270 with 13 home runs in five separate tours with the Red Sox. After his first full season in which Shaw hit .242 with 16 home runs and 71 RBI in 145 games, he was traded to Milwaukee for Tyler Thornburg.
“This is the first time, I’ve stepped into this stadium since high school,” said Shaw, who played baseball at Kent State University for three years. ‘I’ll have a lot of family and friends here.”
Young Shaw, 26, has moved from Washington Court House to Ft. Myers, Florida where the Red Sox hold spring training.
“I still go back for holidays,” Shaw said. “This is the first year I’ve lived in Florida. My dad used to commute from Washington Court House.” It is 77 miles one way.
Jeff was drafted with Cleveland’s first pick in the 1986 January draft out of Washington Court House High and Cuyahoga Community College.
Jeff made his Major League debut for Cleveland in Toronto on April 30, 1990 exactly two weeks after Travis was born. Just 25 years later his son broke in with the Red Sox on the same field.
Jeff was cut by both Cleveland and Montreal and was signed as a free agent. He revived his career when he signed with the Reds in 1996. He saved four games that season but was mainly used to set up saves for his good friend Jeff Brantley, the Cowboy, now a Reds’ broadcaster.
When Brantley left the Reds after the 96 season, Shaw took over as closer and saved a National League-high 42 games. He saved 48 the next season and was the Reds’ All-Star selection with 23 saves when he was traded on July 4 to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Shaw saved another 25 game with them.
“I didn’t go to a ton of games in Cincinnati because I was only six and seven years old,” Travis Shaw said. “I saw more games in Los Angeles when I was a little older.”
His dad pitched for the Dodgers, retiring after his second All-Star season with LA in 2001. He saved 43 games that year, leaving the game with 203 saves in his 12 year career.
His child prodigy was excited to come to the National League Central Division.
“It’s nice being in Milwaukee with games in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Chicago. It is a lot easier for my family to come out,” Shaw said.