Adolis García's performance during the Rangers' run to the 2023 World Series has been the stuff of legend -- right down to his already iconic walk-off home run in Game 1 of the Fall Classic against the D-backs.
The 30-year-old slugger's journey to this point has been far from conventional. From his days as a star in Cuba, to getting designated for assignment twice, to establishing himself as a regular in Texas' lineup, here are some of the biggest moments in García’s career so far.
May 28, 2012: García wins first title in Cuban National Series
García has been winning for a long time. He was just 18 years old when he made his debut for the Tigres of Ciego de Ávila in Cuba's main professional baseball league. While García logged just 38 plate appearances that season in 27 games, he had a double and a home run as Ciego de Ávila won the Cuban National Series title. It was the club’s first championship since its inception in 1977 -- and is it any coincidence that it happened the first year García got on the scene?
July 19, 2015: García helps Cuba win bronze
With the Cuban national team in search of its second straight bronze medal at the Pan-American Games, who else but García to deliver it? At the 2015 Pan-Am Games in Canada, Cuba fell behind Puerto Rico, 6-3, in the bronze-medal game before Yorbis Borroto socked a tying three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth. García followed with a homer of his own, walking off Puerto Rico and securing the win for his country.
2016: García named Cuban National Series MVP
By the time he turned 23, García had been part of two more championship Ciego de Ávila squads. He hit .322/.366/.485 in the 2014-15 season as his team won the Cuban championship in a thrilling seven-game series against Isla de la Juventud. The following year was García’s best in Cuba: He posted a .315/.395/.517 line with 14 homers and 11 steals in 82 games 14 homers and 11 steals in 82 games. His club rebounded from losing a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven finals to win Game 7 and claim its third title in five years -- and García earned Cuban National Series MVP honors for the season.
April 20, 2016: García signs with Yomiuri Giants
Three days after Ciego de Ávila won the CNS championship, the Baseball Federation of Cuba announced García had signed with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball but would return to his home country after the season. His time in Japan was short: García spent more time in Japan’s minor leagues than on its championship circuit. He spent only four games with the Giants’ main NPB team, going 0-for-7 with three strikeouts. It was far from an ideal showcase for García, but his time was coming.
August 2016: García defects from Cuba
Scheduled to return to Cuba after playing in Japan, García reportedly flew back to the Dominican Republic instead and lived there for six months to establish residency and become an international free agent. He is far from the only player to defect from Cuba in order to play in MLB: Yoenis Céspedes, Yasiel Puig, José Abreu and Yordan Alvarez are among others to do the same.
Feb. 24, 2017: García signs with Cardinals as free agent
García got his Major League opportunity in February 2017, a few months after receiving clearance to play in MLB. Then just shy of his 24th birthday, García signed a Minor League deal with the Cardinals that included an invitation to Spring Training. The contract included a $2.5 million bonus. García split 2017 between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis, hitting .290 with an .817 OPS in the Minors.
Aug. 8, 2018: García makes MLB debut
Despite being a productive hitter in the Minor Leagues, García saw little time in the Majors with St. Louis. He made his debut in Miami, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts as the center fielder, batting eighth. He played in just 21 games in 2018, going 2-for-17 with a double in limited action, and didn’t reach MLB in 2019 at all.
Dec. 21, 2019: García designated for assignment by Cardinals, acquired by Rangers for cash
The Rangers were willing to take a flier on the young outfielder after he was designated for assignment by the Cardinals, who used his 40-man roster spot on Korean left-hander Kwang-Hyun Kim. Kim pitched in 35 games with St. Louis between 2020 and 2021, making 28 starts and pitching to a 2.97 ERA. Texas acquired García for cash considerations in December 2019, although he played just three MLB games with the Rangers in the shortened 2020 campaign.
Feb. 10, 2021: García designated for assignment by Rangers, remains with team
García’s incredible run with the Rangers almost never happened. Before 2021 Spring Training, Texas designated the outfielder for assignment, giving the team a week to trade him, release him or option him to the Minors. The Rangers needed García’s spot on the 40-man roster for pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, whom they had just signed. García cleared waivers and remained with the organization, but his time in Texas nearly ended before it really began.
April 15, 2021: García comes up clutch with first MLB homer
On April 13, 2021, the Rangers selected García’s contract, bringing him back up to the Majors. He went 1-for-4 with a run scored in his season debut, but it was two days later when García really made his mark. With Texas in a 4-4 deadlock against the Rays in St. Petersburg, García -- already batting in the cleanup spot -- delivered a go-ahead two-run shot in the top of the 10th inning. The Rangers secured a 6-4 win, making García’s first Major League homer certainly a memorable one.
July 4, 2021: García earns first All-Star selection
García earned recognition for his strong first half when he was named to the American League All-Star team as a reserve. The selection made García the fifth Rangers rookie to make an All-Star team since the franchise moved to Texas in 1972, following Jim Sundberg, Jeff Zimmerman, Neftali Feliz and Yu Darvish. He went into the 2021 All-Star break with 22 homers, 62 RBIs and an .840 OPS over 80 games.
Nov. 15, 2021: García finishes fourth in AL ROY voting
After looking like the potential AL Rookie of the Year frontrunner earlier in 2021, García faded in the second half and ended up finishing outside the Top 3. Still, he received three first-place votes after becoming just the fourth rookie in AL/NL history to record 30-plus homers, 15-plus steals and 90-plus RBIs, joining Ryan Braun, Nomar Garciaparra and Jose Canseco. His 31 dingers on the year set a Rangers rookie record.
May 15, 2022: García shows off power, clutch skills
In perhaps a prelude to his 2023 World Series Game 1 heroics, García showed off both his prodigious opposite-field power and his knack for clutch hitting. During a 2022 game against the Red Sox at Globe Life Field, he stepped to the plate with two on and two out in a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning. García crushed a fastball 413 feet to right-center, parking it in the Rangers' bullpen to break the tie. He added a two-run homer to right field in the eighth inning to help Texas rout Boston.
April 22, 2023: García posts historic three-homer game
It was clear early on that the 2023 season was going to be a special one for García. The outfielder was unstoppable against the A’s in Texas’ 20th game of the year, going 5-for-5 with three homers, two doubles and eight RBIs in an 18-3 win. García not only logged the first three-homer game in Globe Life Field history but also became the fourth player in AL/NL history to record three homers and two doubles in a game, joining Kris Bryant (Cubs, 6/27/2016), Matt Carpenter (Cardinals, 7/20/2018) and Alex Dickerson (Giants, 9/1/2020). García went on to earn his second All-Star selection, and he finished 2023 with 39 homers, 107 RBIs and an .836 OPS -- all career bests.
July 10, 2023: García hits dingers in first Home Run Derby
Named an All-Star in 2023 for the second time in his career, García got the chance to participate in his first Home Run Derby. The slugger didn't make it out of the first round, falling to Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena in their matchup, but García still did some damage. He hit 17 Derby homers, crushing them as hard as 110 mph and as far as 438 feet at T-Mobile Park in Seattle.
Oct. 4, 2023: García clubs first postseason home run
García didn’t take long to make his mark on the 2023 postseason. Playing in just his second career playoff game, the right-handed slugger opened the scoring with a solo homer off the Rays’ Zach Eflin to lead off the top of the fourth inning. García’s first postseason homer sparked a four-run inning for the Rangers, who went on to defeat Tampa Bay, 7-1, to complete a two-game sweep in the AL Wild Card Series.
Oct. 20, 2023: García involved in benches-clearing incident in AL Championship Series Game 5
García found himself at the center of controversy in ALCS Game 5 against the Astros at Globe Life Field, starting with his go-ahead homer off Justin Verlander in the bottom of the sixth inning. García admired his majestic blast as it sailed out of the park in left-center field and spiked his bat before beginning a lengthy trot around the bases. Facing Astros reliever Bryan Abreu two innings later, García was drilled by a fastball and immediately confronted Houston catcher Martín Maldonado -- causing both benches and bullpens to clear and leading to the ejections of Abreu, García and Astros manager Dusty Baker. The Astros ultimately came back and won after Jose Altuve hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning, but García would be heard from again as the series shifted back to Houston.
Oct. 22, 2023: García silences Houston crowd with ninth-inning grand slam
Met with an overwhelming chorus of boos from the Houston faithful following the events of ALCS Game 5 two days earlier in Arlington, García went down on strikes in each of his first four plate appearances of Game 6. However, he silenced the crowd with one swing of the bat in the top of the ninth, crushing a grand slam into the Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park to extend Texas’ lead to 9-2. The Rangers’ victory forced a winner-take-all Game 7 one night later.
Oct. 23, 2023: García named ALCS MVP after two Game 7 homers
García continued to torment the Astros in Game 7 of the ALCS, contributing to the Rangers’ three-run first inning against Cristian Javier with an RBI single before crushing a solo homer off Hunter Brown in the top of the third. He drove in two more runs with a single off J.P. France in the top of the fourth, extending Texas’ lead to 8-2. García put the finishing touches on his epic Game 7 performance in the top of the eighth, blasting another solo dinger off José Urquidy to become the fourth player to go deep twice in a winner-take-all Game 7. He joined Yogi Berra, who accomplished the feat for the Yankees in the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers, Jason Giambi for the Yanks in the 2003 ALCS against the Red Sox and Johnny Damon for the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees. The slugger was named ALCS MVP after finishing the series with five homers, 15 RBIs and a 1.293 OPS over 30 plate appearances.
Oct. 27, 2023: García hits walk-off HR in World Series Game 1
García continued to build on his postseason legend in Game 1 of the World Series against the D-backs, crushing a walk-off homer to right field off Miguel Castro in the bottom of the 11th inning. García’s blast, which followed teammate Corey Seager game-tying two-run homer off D-backs closer Paul Sewald in the bottom of the ninth, came exactly 12 years to the day after Cardinals third baseman David Freese’s Game 6 heroics in the 2011 World Series broke the Rangers’ hearts. The walk-off homer also gave García the record for most RBIs in a single postseason. The previous record holder? None other than Freese with 21, also in 2011.