Hornet Hero Returns Home


Photo | David Fulton

Brad Brewer, Print Editor

Ten years ago, Travis Wood was just a senior who was finishing his storied high school career.

Now, Wood is a World Series champion with the Chicago Cubs. Just weeks after the team’s historic victory, Wood came back to Bryant for a homecoming parade and ceremony and was met with a warm reception from Hornet and Cubs fans alike.

Drivers on Nov. 11 might have noticed the decreased speed limits and decorations on display throughout S Reynolds Road, as restaurants like David’s Burgers and companies such as Stated Apparel joined the celebration by selling food and giving out merchandise that celebrated Wood’s accomplishment.

When the clock hit five p.m, a fire truck carrying Wood made its way to the school and was met by fans and the Legacy of Bryant. After a quick fan meet-up and media session, Wood and his family participated in a ceremony commemorating his accomplishments at Hornet Stadium before the Hornets’ opening playoff game against Springdale. Mayor Jill Dabbs, state Governor Asa Hutchinson and other politicians from around the state took turns speaking about Wood. Included in the ceremony was the announcement of T. Wood way, a renamed street in Wood’s honor, as well as devoting Nov. 11 to become Travis Wood Day in the state of Arkansas.

Even with Wood’s experiences and accomplishments in Major League Baseball, he was grateful for his hometown’s reaction to his return.

“[It’s] unbelievable,” Wood said. “This town has been very special to me my whole life. To grow up here and come back to this support, it’s unbelievable.”

On his journey from high school baseball to becoming a world champion, Wood insisted that not even he thought this success would come this soon.

“No, it took a lot of hard work and believing in myself,” Wood said. “And to be honest, it took a lot of lucky breaks. You have to have breaks in life and you have to keep grinding and push through the bad times.”

Wood made his name known as he pitched a save in game six of the World Series to force a seventh and final game in the series between the Cubs and the Cleveland Indians. Even though millions of sports fans had their eyes on him, Wood made sure not to apply extra pressure on himself.

“[It was] nothing. It was just another baseball game,” Wood said. “Somebody is going to win and somebody is going to lose. If you add more pressure to yourself, you are just adding more pressure to the game. It has enough [pressure] as is.”

During his speech in front of the home crowd at Hornet Stadium, Wood chose not to focus on himself and his championship victory, but instead spoke of the baseball program that began his career.

“The baseball in Bryant when I was [growing] up was top-notch,” Wood said. “It taught me a lot. It taught me about the game and about work ethic. And judging from the cars that read ‘state champs’ and ‘regional champs,’ I can see that we are still in the right place.”