Monday, August 11, 2008
After being out of baseball for nearly 5 years, Fernando Tatis is having a storybook season in New York. The former all-star is hitting .302 with 9 HRs and 34 RBIs for the Mets, while providing a much needed spark to compensate for the loss of Ryan Church. But none of this can compare to the remarkable path that Tatis has brought Tatis back to the big leagues.
When Tatis was just 24 years old, he had a breakout season in St. Louis, posting solid numbers across the board .298/34/107 en route to his first all star selection. But by the time he was 29, Tatis was out of baseball. Upset with his poor performance, Tatis retired in 2003 and returned home to the Dominican Republic.
When he returned home, Tatis was very disappointed with the state of his hometown, and they needed to build a new church. With no income to speak of, Tatis knew the only way to fund the church was to return to baseball. The only problem...nobody wanted Tatis. So after months of working out, Tatis was finally given a minor league deal with the Orioles. He was determined to make it back, and after dominating the minors for nearly 2 years, Tatis is in a pennant race, starting for the New York Mets. And his church in the Dominican Republic opened its doors a few months ago. Truly a remarkable story.
2008 has been filled with remarkable stories similar to Tatis. Here are just a few:
Josh Hamiltion- This ones a no brainer. Two years ago, I figured that Hamilton would be dead or in jail by now. Instead he's a prime candidate for AL MVP.
Milton Bradley- Another Ranger with former character issues, Bradley appears to finally have his ADD under control, and is enjoying a career year.
Cliff Lee- The journeyman left hander was not even guaranteed a rotation spot coming into 08, but he has responded by posting a ridiculous 16-2 record, to go along with his league leading 2.45 ERA. Unbelievable.
The Entire Marlins Roster- Despite a payroll of $22 MM (less than A-Rod makes), the Marlins are playing like a team and remain in contention for the NL East. I still believe they will fade, but even if they do, you gotta respect the way they've played.
Christian Guzman- He hit .219 in his last full season, and has battled injuries the last few years. But he has been a bright spot in Washington, among the league leaders with 135 hits.