Two proud parents stood up behind the visitor’s dugout at Great American Ball Park when Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw hit a three-run home run Tuesday.
Jeff Shaw heard the cheers from Cincinnati fans two decades ago as the Reds closer. Now he and his wife Julie cheered for the opposing team and their son as he rounded the bases.
The Shaws live in Washington Court House, 76 miles from Cincinnati. This was the closest they had seen Travis, who played the last two seasons with the Boston Red Sox, play to home in the big leagues. Travis got to visit his parents in Washington Court House on Monday, an off day.
“This is a lot closer than Cleveland,” said Travis on Wednesday before the second game of the series. “It’s meant a lot to my hometown.”
Travis, 27, is quickly becoming the type of impact player his dad was. Jeff Shaw recorded 203 saves in his 12-year career. He played for the Reds from 1996-98. He made the All-Star team in 1998 as a Red but was traded to the Dodgers for Paul Konerko and Dennys Reyes days before the All-Star Game.
Travis was born on April 16, 1990, two weeks before his dad made his big-league debut with the Cleveland Indians. He remembers his dad’s years in Los Angeles much better than the years in Cincinnati.
“I went to the field every day,” Travis said. “I was out on the field doing a lot of stuff every day. Those are the years I remember the most and it’s what formed my baseball career.”
The Red Sox drafted Shaw in the 32nd round in 2008 out of Washington High School. He chose to go to Kent State instead. In 2011, the Red Sox drafted Shaw again, this time in the ninth round.
Shaw made his big-league debut in 2015 with Boston and slugged 16 home runs last season. The Brewers acquired him in a trade in December, and he’s having a career year.
Shaw’s home run Tuesday matched his total from last season. It was his second home run in Cincinnati this season. He homered April 16 in Milwaukee’s first series at Great American Ball Park.
Cincinnati remains a special place for his dad, Travis said, because it was where he had his breakout years. Jeff remains close to former teammate Jeff Brantley, now a Reds broadcaster.
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As for having a son who made it to the big leagues as a position player instead of a pitcher, that has worked out well for Jeff, too.
“I think he likes it,” Travis said. “I play every day. It keeps him interested in the game. I’ve kind of formed my own identity. That way I don’t have to follow in his footsteps.”