Seven years ago, he was released after four games in Nippon Professional Baseball, and this year, he’s a hero in Major League Baseball, leading Texas to the World Series.
That’s the story of 30-year-old Cuban slugger Adolis Garcia.
Garcia went 4-for-5 with two home runs and five RBIs in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series (ALCS) today, leading Texas to an 11-4 victory over Houston.
Texas, which hadn’t won a World Series title in 62 years since its inception in 1961, improved to 4-3 in the series and advanced to its first World Series in 12 years.
In seven games of the Championship Series, Garcia batted .357 with five home runs and 15 RBIs.
His on-base percentage (0.400) and slugging percentage (0.893) combined for a whopping 1.293 OPS, and he was named the Championship Series MVP.
Garcia made an impression not only with his bat, but also with his off-the-field antics, including a home run in Game 5 that earned him a retaliatory beanball from Houston pitcher Abreu after he slowed down and threw his bat, or “sucker punch,” to appreciate the pitch.
The beanball resulted in both teams clearing their benches, setting the stage for a nerve-wracking series finale.
Garcia got his revenge with a solo shot in Game 6 and a multi-homer game in Game 7, despite being booed by the Houston home fans.
Garcia celebrates with booing Houston fans after hitting his second home run of the game in the eighth inning during Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.
Garcia had one of the best nights of his life in the spotlight, 12 years after turning pro in the Cuban League in 2011.
But before he became a Texas hero, his professional life had its ups and downs.
■ Cuban youngster joins Japan’s Yomiuri in 2016…chooses asylum in the U.S. after being released
Garcia, who played in the Cuban league from 2011 to 2015, joined Yomiuri in April 2016 at the age of 23.
He made his first-team debut in June, but struggled in four games, going 0-for-7 with three strikeouts, and was released by Yomiuri two months later.
However, Garcia used his release from Japan as an opportunity to rebuild his career.
He went into exile in France, a stopover on his way back to Cuba, and signed a minor league contract with St. Louis the following year.
■ Long minor league career, release ordeal as STL acquires Kim Kwang-hyun…talent blossoms in Texas!
After spending 2017 in the minors, Garcia made his dream big league debut in 2018.
However, he struggled with a .118 batting average in 21 games and spent all of 2019 in the minors.
Then, in December 2019, Garcia was released for the second time in his career when the Reds acquired Kwang-Hyun Kim.
He was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Kwang-hyun Kim, who was eventually traded to Texas.
It was in Texas that Garcia began to write his life’s story.
The 28-year-old blossomed in the big leagues in 2021, hitting .243 with 31 home runs and 90 RBIs in 149 games, including an American League All-Star selection.
A one-hit wonder with 27 arches last season, Garcia had his best season yet this year with 39 home runs and 107 RBIs.
The most in a single series in fall baseball…Will the legend continue?
Garcia’s meteoric rise to prominence has made fall baseball history.
His 15 RBIs in seven games set a new record for most RBIs in a single postseason series in history.메이저놀이터
He has now homered in four consecutive games this postseason, trailing only Daniel Murphy (2015, 6 games), Giancarlo Stanton (2020, 5 games), and Carlos Beltran (2004, 5 games) for the single-season record.
After winning the league championship MVP award, Garcia said, “My teammates here and the fans are like my family. They are the ones that make me play harder. I really appreciate it,” he said, giving credit to his teammates and fans.
Can Garcia be the hero to end Texas’ 62-year drought in the World Series?
The World Series, which will crown the 2023 Major League Baseball champion, begins on May 27 with a best-of-seven series.