HOUSTON -- While Astros players have been busy making appearances around the city and country on the national talk-show circuit in the days following their World Series victory, manager A.J. Hinch will be in the spotlight this weekend at his alma mater.
Hinch, who led the Astros to their first World Series championship in his third year in Houston, will serve as the honorary captain for the Stanford University football team Friday when it plays No. 9 Washington in Palo Alto, Calif. Hinch was asked by Cardinal head coach David Shaw last month if he could participate in some pregame activities.
"I'm going to get to talk to the coaches, I'm going to get to address the team and do the coin flip," Hinch said. "It just makes it a special day. Any of us that played football growing up dreamed of being a part of a day like that, and this will be a dream come true."
There will be Astros ties on the away side, too. Huskies kick returner/wide receiver Dante Pettis is the son of Astros third-base coach Gary Pettis, and he often visited the clubhouse when the Astros were in Seattle during the regular season over the past few years.
Pettis, a 6-foot-1 senior, broke the NCAA record with his ninth career punt return for a touchdown in Saturday's win over Oregon. That was his fourth punt-return TD this year, tying a Pac-12 record. He's also caught 49 passes for 571 yards and seven touchdowns this year.
Hinch, a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year, graduated from Stanford with a degree in psychology in 1996. The catcher hit over .300 in all four seasons at Stanford, including a .381 mark with 11 home runs and 59 RBIs as a senior. He also caught for the Cardinal's '95 College World Series team and earned a bronze medal at the '96 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
A third-round Draft pick in 1995 by Minnesota, Hinch opted to stay at Stanford for his senior season. He was picked by Oakland the following year, also in the third round, and he debuted with the A's in '98. Hinch played for seven MLB seasons, his last coming with Philadelphia in 2004. He batted .219 with 32 home runs and 112 RBIs in 350 career Major League games.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.