BOSTON (AP) — Michael Wacha remembered passing Will Middlebrooks a few years ago back in Texarkana, the small northeast Texas city where they grew up. “One of the guys that everyone looked up to,” Wacha said Tuesday. “Like he’s walking by, ‘That’s Will Middlebrooks there.’ It’s pretty crazy.”
Texarkana has a population of 36,411, according to the last U.S. census. That’s slightly fewer than the crowd that will jam into Fenway Park on Wednesday night to watch the old friends face each other when the Boston Red Sox host the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series opener.
Middlebrooks was a senior at Liberty-Eylau High School in 2007, when Wacha was a sophomore at Pleasant Grove High, about a 10-minute drive away. Now the pair will be in the spotlight as Series rivals. Wacha, 22, has been a sensation since joining the Cardinals’ rotation in September. The 25-year-old Middlebrooks has seen extensive action at third base for Boston during the last two seasons.