Nats recall first big league experiences

May 10th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Jessica Camerato’s Nationals Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Jake Alu had an important wishlist to ponder Tuesday night: which items did he want to keep from his Major League debut?

“I haven’t decided that one yet,” Alu said 20 minutes after the game concluded. “I actually haven’t even thought about that, but I probably should.”

Debut mementos are significant pieces of a player’s baseball journey. While Alu starts his big league souvenir collection, the Nationals shared how they commemorated their debuts.

Manager Dave Martinez

Date: June 15, 1986

Team: Cubs

“I know I’ve got the lineup card. It was pretty cool. I didn’t get my first hit for a while; I think I was 0-for-10 before I got my first hit. It was kind of nice, I did get the ball after I got it. It was nice once I got that one out of the way.”

C Riley Adams

Date: June 8, 2021

Team: Blue Jays

“I got a lot. I think I have the scorecard. I got my first hit in my debut, so I kept that [ball]. After I got traded [to the Nationals], I got the jersey I wore for that.”

INF Michael Chavis

Date: April 20, 2019

Team: Red Sox

“I gave my bat to my hitting coach-best friend. The bat was kind of relevant for him. Fun fact, though: Apparently, everybody when they get their first hit, most of them take that bat and hang it up. I was like, obviously this bat has hits in it. So, I kept swinging with it until I broke it, and then I gave it to him. I’ve got the uniform, I’ve got the hat, I might even have the helmet, actually. I think it’s one of those situations where they came up to me after the game and said, ‘What do you want?’ It was everything that I was wearing. I was like, ‘This.’”

RHP Thaddeus Ward

Date: April 1, 2023

Team: Nationals

“I’ve got my first pitch, my first strikeout and I have a lineup card.”

OF Stone Garrett

Date: Aug. 17, 2022

Team: D-backs

“[I kept] the first-hit ball. It was off Carlos Rodón here [at Oracle Park]. I think my dad has it somewhere.”

3B Jeimer Candelario

Date: July 3, 2016

Team: Cubs

“I have my jersey at my house. [I kept it] because that day, that moment, the special thing that I always remember is the walk to home plate and the run to third base.”

OF Lane Thomas

Date: April 17, 2019

Team: Cardinals

“I kept the [first-hit] ball. That’s about it. I wish I would have kept the lineup card.”

RHP Erasmo Ramírez

Date: April 9, 2012

Team: Mariners

“Definitely there was a ball because they always toss it to the dugout. I asked Nelson Cruz to sign it because that was my first strikeout. He was good enough to be like, ‘It’s your first strikeout.’”

RHP Kyle Finnegan

Date: July 25, 2020

Team: Nationals

“I have my first pitch, my first out, two lineup cards. They give you a bunch of stuff.”