Childhood dream realized as Chisholm, Fox make history

Pair becomes first Bahamas natives to play in same MLB game since 1961

April 28th, 2022

WASHINGTON -- Their smiles were as big as the significance of the moment, and the photographs exuded joy from the field far beyond the still frame captured by the cameras. A feat that had been dreamed of since Little League was about to be realized.

Nationals shortstop and Marlins second baseman were just hours away from becoming the first two Bahamian-born players in 61 years to appear in the same Major League game when they took the field Wednesday at Nationals Park. That had not happened since the Cubs’ Andre Rodgers and the Phillies’ Tony Curry made history at Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia on April 22, 1961.

“To do it with Jazz -- it means a lot,” Fox said. “We spoke about this moment when we were kids, from when we first started playing baseball and we first signed. We both wanted to make it so bad.”

In total, only nine players born in the Bahamas have appeared in a big league game. This select group includes Chisholm, Fox, Curry, Rodgers, two-time World Series champion Ed Armbrister, Wil Culmer, Wenty Ford, Antoan Richardson and Ormond Sampson.

Chisholm and Fox’s paths converged for the first time on the big stage in a 2-1 Marlins victory over the Nationals. The leadoff hitter Chisholm went 2-for-3 with a walk, while Fox still is chasing his first Major League hit after going 0-for-4.

"It was like a super important day for me, too,” Chisholm said. “I was really hoping he got his first hit today, too, because it would've been even crazier today that he got his first hit in the big leagues on the day that we played against each other. It's a great day. I am so happy about today. He did great out there, had some good at-bats. I just can't wait to see what we have in the future."

The 24-year-old infielders from Nassau, separated in age by seven months, were part of the 2015 International signing class. Chisholm inked a deal with the D-backs and was traded to the Marlins in 2019, with whom he made his Major League debut in late ‘20. He has appeared in 160 games with Miami.

“When he got called up in 2020, I was so happy for him. It felt like I’d made it,” Fox said. “Everything he does, every home run he hits, every celebration, I feel like I’ve been there with him. We’ve been helping each other along the way. He’s been rooting for me the past couple of years, telling me, ‘Come play here. It’s a beautiful thing, everything we envisioned and more in the big leagues.’ Getting that opportunity here with the Nationals -- I can’t thank the Nationals enough. I’m looking forward to many more battles in the future.”

Fox’s path hasn’t been as direct as Chisholm's. After he signed with the Giants in 2015, he was dealt to the Rays in ‘16 and then traded to the Royals in ‘20. Fox was claimed off waivers by the Orioles last November, only to be claimed again by the Nationals just 11 days later. He earned an early season callup and made his Major League debut on April 10.

"You know what was crazy was, as kids, we talked about playing together,” Chisholm said. “I know it almost happened this offseason when he got DFA'd, we almost picked him up. It would've been even crazier if he got to be on the team with me. That day is going to be one of the sickest days ever for me, if we get to play together. That's the day that everything is going to just fall in line, what we talked about a long time ago."

Chisholm and Fox didn’t wait until they had reached the bigs to begin giving back to their community. Fox began hosting the “Don’t Blink Home Run Derby in Paradise,” which features a youth clinic and a home run derby on the beach, with outfielder Todd Isaacs Jr. in 2018, and Chisholm has been an active participant.

So when they took the field together on Wednesday, it was far more than just two friends realizing a childhood goal. The influx of messages waiting in Fox’s phone after the game was an indication of it. 

“If not the whole, a lot of the Bahamas was watching tonight,” Fox said. “Hopefully we were able to inspire some kids to play baseball, and just inspire people to take that leap. The world has a lot to offer, and you can’t be afraid to take chances and bet on yourself. So hopefully we inspired people in the Bahamas to do that tonight.”