ESPN News Services4 minute read
Drew Maggi’s long road to the big leagues culminated with his first batting career on Wednesday night.
The 33-year-old infielder, who had played 1,155 games in 13 minor league seasons before being called up by the Pirates earlier this week, emerged as an eighth-inning pinch hitter, hitting in his only at the batting as Pittsburgh defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-1 at PNC Park.
Maggi pinch hit Andrew McCutchen with one out in the eighth inning and received a standing ovation from teammates in the Pirates dugout and the sparse crowd at the ballpark. He fired the first pitch he saw from Alex Vesia’s foul, then found himself holed 0-2 after being called for a clock violation by plate umpire Jeff Nelson. Maggi fouled another then took a ball before striking while swinging on a Vesia slider.
“That’s the best strikeout I’ve ever had,” Maggi said with a smile.
Asked on the field after the game how the night felt, Maggi added: “I really can’t (put it into words). I can’t explain how I felt in the (batter’s box). I don’t I didn’t even know what to do. You were cheering me on. I don’t know, I didn’t expect this. Along the journey I thought I’d make my debut and it would be normal at bat. Obviously special , but the crowd is cheering my name, I have my parents here, my three brothers, a sister at home. I mean, it’s amazing. Thank you all.”
Maggi has a career .254 ERA with 978 hits, 45 homers, 354 RBIs and 222 stolen bases in the minors since being drafted out of Arizona State by the Pirates in the 15th round (n ° 447 overall) in 2010. Wednesday marked the 12 years, 10 months and 18 days since his selection.
The Pirates called him over the weekend from Double-A Altoona – video of him being told of the call showed the most heartfelt moment – when outfielder Bryan Reynolds was placed on the roster. grief. Manager Derek Shelton couldn’t find a place to use Maggi in his first two games in Pittsburgh, and Maggi feared a repeat of 2019, when he was called up by Minnesota Twins for a few days but didn’t appear in a game.
Shelton, who was the Twins’ bench coach at the time, was delighted he was able to bring in Maggi this time around.
“It was cool. It was really cool,” Shelton said. “I mean being able, since I’ve known him, to be the person telling him (to pinch) was really cool.”
Maggi said he never regretted spending more than a decade underage. However, he admitted that Wednesday’s at bat had made all those years of chasing his dream worth it.
“I love baseball,” Maggi said. “I worked for 13 years, but I was doing what I loved. The ultimate goal is the big leagues. I’m just getting here, my name is in history. I put on a big league uniform. league and I shared the pitch with the greatest players in the world.”
Maggi spent moments after the match visiting family along the seat railing. The magnitude of the moment hit him once he saw his parents, who had traveled from Phoenix, and other family members.
“There were a lot of ‘I love you’. We’re proud of you. You made it!” said Maggie. “I saw my dad cry. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him cry. All these years I wondered what I would say to my parents if that moment ever came. They were there with me. Hearing those words were worth it. I know the last 13 years haven’t been wasted.”