After four years in the low minors and another spent out of baseball due to the pandemic, Akil Baddoo of the Detroit Tigers faced his first Major League pitch with his parents watching from the stands at Comerica Park on Sunday.
He seized the moment — big time.
Baddoo clubbed an opposite-field home run off Cleveland Indians pitcher Aaron Civale. The rookie outfielder flipped his bat as if he’d been pounding big-league pitching forever. He appeared to point toward his parents as he celebrated on the field.
They were ecstatic, by the way.
Baddoo’s solo blast gave Detroit a 3-1 lead, but the Tigers eventually lost 9-3.
“Got a good pitch to hit, and I was able to hit it in front of my family and everyone,” Baddoo told the Associated Press. “Unfortunately we didn’t get the win, but looking forward to tomorrow.”
Baddoo, 22, is the ninth Tiger to homer in his first MLB at-bat, and he’s the first to do it on the first pitch since George Vico in 1948, MLB.com reported.
Baddoo never rose above Single-A ball in the Minnesota Twins organization, and he hadn’t played a regular-season minor league game since May 2019 after undergoing elbow surgery, per MLB.com. He also didn’t play in 2020 because minor league baseball was canceled due to the pandemic.
But a torrid spring training season with the Tigers gave him the big-league opportunity.
“I’m just living in the moment,” Baddoo told MLB.com.