Contreras blasts off bench in first MLB at-bat

June 20th, 2016

CHICAGO -- One pitch, one swing, one home run. 
Willson Contreras connected with a first-pitch changeup, held his bat high and watched as a 104 mph line drive sailed 415 feet, over the Wrigley Field ivy and into history.
Contreras, Chicago's 24-year-old top catching prospect, hit a two-run home run in his first Major League at-bat Sunday in a 10-5 win over the Pirates.
Rare feats: Players who homered in first career at-bat
Contreras -- who was called up Friday and had appeared only as a defensive replacement -- was in the bullpen when he found out he was going to pinch-hit for pitcher Kyle Hendricks in the sixth inning. Moments later, Contreras walked to the plate ready, he said, not nervous. Contreras came up to the sound of a standing ovation. He said he was trying to hit a single.
When Pirates right-hander A.J. Schugel left a changeup high, Contreras exceeded his own dreams.
"I was ready for my first Major League at-bat, but I didn't imagine it was going to be a homer," Contreras said.
Fan catches Contreras' first homer, goes absolutely nuts in celebration
As the ball cleared the wall, Wrigley Field erupted with fans cheering the official merger between present and future. There was a noticeable shake throughout the old stadium.
Contreras rounded the bases, pointing to the sky as he came around first. He was met with hugs at home plate and joy in the dugout.
"It's an amazing feeling," Contreras said. "It's incredible. I don't have the words to explain how happy I am to be here."
For the second consecutive game, the Wrigley crowd gave a catcher a curtain call. One night ago, it was 39-year-old David Ross, who hit a go-ahead homer as part of his magical final season. This time, it was Contreras, who ended his first at-bat in storybook fashion because for once, things in Chicago keep going according to plan.

"That's how it should be, I think," Hendricks said. "That was awesome to see. I'm happy for him. I hope to see a lot more of it. He can definitely swing."
In his postgame press conference, Cubs manager Joe Maddon noted the home run was special. Then he asked, "How many times has that happened in Cubs history?"

A small debate broke out over some of the superlatives. Contreras became the 27th player in history and the first Cub to homer as a pinch-hitter in his first at-bat. He is the first Cub to homer in his first at-bat since Jorge Soler in 2014. Contreras is also the first Cub to homer on his first pitch since Jim Bullinger in 1992. The list could go on.
Conteras is scheduled to make his first start Monday with John Lackey on the mound against the Cardinals. He will already be used to the thrill.
"This is incredible," Contreras said. "I can't believe it."