Photo credit: David Mahussier
Goldeyes’ pitcher Travis Seabrooke is once again ready to make an impact.
The Canadian-born left-hander thrived in a variety of bullpen roles for the club in 2021, tying for the American Association lead with 44 appearances and setting a career-high of 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings.
A former fifth-round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles, Seabrooke was released early in 2019 and then missed all of 2020 as a result of the pandemic’s cancellation of the affiliated minor leagues.
“It had been almost two years since I was in a professional baseball game,” said Seabrooke. “That was the longest break I had away from baseball in my life, so being back in that competitive atmosphere was extremely exciting.”
Travis pitching in WPG, 2021. Photo Credit: David Mahussier
That competitiveness and excitement helped Seabrooke make an immediate impression on his new manager Rick Forney.
“Travis did a hell of a job for us,” said Forney. “He was a couple years away from pitching in meaningful games, but he came in and really opened my eyes in training camp. He worked hard to get himself in good shape and just came in and attacked everybody. It didn’t matter who it was. Travis comes to the field every day willing to lay it on the line for his team.”
With smaller rosters and no farm system to act as a safety net when personnel needs arise, American Association teams often require heavier workloads from their pitching staffs than are typically seen in the affiliated minors. For this reason, Forney has long believed that a pitcher’s best “ability” is his “availability.”
In addition to his league-best appearances total, Seabrooke took the mound on back-to-back nights—another rarity in affiliated ball today—14 times last summer, holding the opposition scoreless in 10 of them.
“I just really want to be able to make an impact,” said Seabrooke. “Regardless of what role it is, I want to be the kind of player and kind of teammate that people can rely on—the kind of pitcher that other guys on the field want on the mound.”
Representing Canada is such an honour, and I was very thankful for that opportunity.
Seabrooke’s work ethic caught the attention of more than just Forney. Shortly after the Goldeyes’ season began, the Peterborough, Ontario native was recruited to the Canadian National Team in their bid to qualify for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
While Team Canada ultimately fell short of claiming the final berth, Seabrooke—who previously was a member of the Canadian Junior National Team—relished the opportunity.
“That was extremely special, and it was also a little bit unexpected just because I had been away from baseball,” Seabrooke said. “But I had done so much preparation to get myself ready for the beginning of the season in Winnipeg that I was very much ready when I got that call. Representing Canada is such an honour, and I was very thankful for that opportunity.”
Glen and Travis Seabrooke playing hockey back in the day. Photo Supplied by Travis Seabrooke
Seabrooke’s father, Glen, was drafted 21st overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1985 and played three seasons in the NHL before his career was cut short due to injury. In 1988, Glen Seabrooke helped the American Hockey League’s Hersey Bears win the Calder Cup while playing under Manitoba legend and former Jets 1.0 head coach John Paddock. Naturally, hockey was a big part of Travis’ upbringing.
“Hockey was pretty much everything for me growing up,” said the 6-foot-6 Seabrooke. “I played Triple-A hockey, and that consumed four, five, six nights a week from the time I was five years old all the way up until high school. In my childhood, baseball was more or less just a sport that I played in the summer.
“I had a really big growth spurt coming out of middle school and the fact that I was left-handed and really liked to pitch, I felt like the opportunities in baseball would surpass those in hockey. But in my childhood, hockey was everything. I loved it, and even to this day I still miss playing.”
The athleticism in Seabrooke’s family is shared by more than just father and son. Travis’ younger brother, Carter, is a left-handed pitcher himself. Carter currently attends Howard College in Texas, and his fastball has already been clocked in the mid-90s. Travis’ maternal uncle, Bill McMillan, played alongside Glen for the OHL’s Peterborough Petes in the 1980s, and was drafted by the New Jersey Devils. Kyle Killen, a cousin of Travis, is a professional lacrosse player for the NLL’s Vancouver Warriors.
I absolutely loved the city, I loved the field, and our fans were awesome.
Much like Seabrooke had to wait two years before returning to professional baseball, Goldeyes’ fans were unable to attend games at Shaw Park for nearly as long. When the Fish finally returned to Winnipeg last August 3rd, it was Seabrooke who closed out the team’s 14-3 victory while pitching in his home country for the first time as a pro.
“I had heard so many good things about Winnipeg in general, I was just so optimistic, and was so much looking forward to the season starting last year,” said Seabrooke. “Everyone had high expectations, but you don’t really understand what (Winnipeg) is like until you get there. I absolutely loved the city, I loved the field, and our fans were awesome. Seeing the skyline behind the stadium was just incredible, and I’m so looking forward to getting back there.”
Listen to a full interview with Travis Seabrooke from the Feb 7 edition of The Inside Pitch:
Closed captioning available on YouTube