Rangers make Hafner Cowley's second Major Leaguer
Travis "Dakota" Hafner, who played baseball for the Cowley Tigers in 1996 and 1997, made his Major League debut with the Texas Rangers on Aug. 6 during an 8-2 loss at Detroit. Hafner pinch-hit in the ninth inning.
Hafner was a junior college All-American and was most valuable player at the 1997 NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, the first of two consecutive national titles for Cowley. Hafner, a Sykeston, N.D., native, led the Pacific Coast League with a .458 on-base percentage and ranked fourth in batting average at .338 when he was called up from the AAA Oklahoma RedHawks. He had 19 home runs and had driven in 72 runs in 382 at-bats.
Hafner joins Junior Spivey, second baseman for the Arizona Diamondbacks and a National League All-Star, as the two former Cowley players in Major League Baseball. Spivey and Hafner were teammates on the 1996 Cowley team. "It’s absolutely great to see those two guys playing big-league baseball," Tiger baseball coach Dave Burroughs said. "I knew it was just a matter of time before Hafner got his chance. He’s one of the hardest working players I’ve ever coached."
Within his first week with Texas, Hafner nearly hit for the cycle (single, double, triple, home run), but was thrown out at third base trying to stretch a double. His 4-for-5 night earned him some time on ESPN’s SportsCenter. In late August, Hafner was sent back to the RedHawks, who were in the midst of a divisional race.