Andrew Jerome Maggi of Phoenix has played 1,155 games in the minor leagues. He has 13 seasons under his belt.
On April 14, he delivered his first multi-hit game of the season, helping his Pennsylvania Double-A team, the Altoona Curve, secure a big win over the Erie SeaWolves. Those hits were just a few of many that ultimately helped knock Maggi out of the park.
The 33-year-old learned Saturday that he was being called up to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Calix Crabbe, the Altoona Curve manager and the Pirates’ assistant hitting coordinator, delivered the news to Maggi in a crowded locker room, saying, “In spring training, we talked about how life is like a journey. We talked about three words. We talked about perspective. We talked about choice. We talked about grit.”
With these three words in mind and the understanding that baseball is a “microcosm” for their application on and off the field, Crabbe said, “It is with great pleasure that I get to promote my first person to the major leagues and someone that is tremendously important to this group and someone that exemplifies grit.”
Crabbe then turned all focus to the 33-year-old seated in the back, saying, “Maggi, you’re going to get an opportunity to move up.”
Maggi, shirtless and motionless, sat agape until Crabbe confirmed the news with a hug and a handshake, at which point he leapt up and said, “Let’s f****** go!”
According to the New York Post, Pittsburgh transferred Ji-Man Choi to the 60-day injured list to make room for Maggi on the roster.
Maggi told MLB.com in March, “It’s been a lot of years, a lot of different teammates, a lot of different organizations. … I think going through the process and being here now, I’ve learned a lot. It’s been a hell of a journey, man.”
At times, he considered calling it quits.
“You always believe that you can get another shot, but as you get older, you have that in your mind: ‘This could be it for me,'” he said.
However, he never caved to doubt or despair.
“I got to a certain point where it was like, ‘You know what, it doesn’t matter. I love playing baseball. As long as I have a jersey on and I’m having a good time, whatever.'”
Maggi will now wear the black and gold jersey with the No. 39.
The Pirates posted a video Sunday captioned “Never give up on your dream,” wherein the team’s manager, Derek Shelton, greeted Maggi.
Shelton embraced Maggi, saying, “Let’s go, man! This is awesome.”
Upon entering the MLB team’s locker room, No. 39 noted, “It’s a lot bigger in here, ya know?”
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