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At early age, Panda knew his future

Pablo Sandoval, 3B, Giants
Hometown: Carabobo, Venezuela

Sandoval's childhood didn't go exactly as his mother, Amelia, had hoped.

Sandoval was a shortstop in youth baseball because he idolized Omar Vizquel. He started to believe he could be a Major Leaguer when he was 15. During a tournament in Cuba with a Venezuelan team, a scout told Sandoval that he had the talent to go as far as he wanted. He began working harder after that, especially in the gym, where he began lifting weights with a greater frequency.

His parents stressed education, not sports. However, Sandoval convinced his parents to let him sign with the Giants at age 16, since his older brother, Michael, was already in professional baseball in the Twins organization.

"I remember my mother always telling me I should want to go to college," Sandoval said. "I told her, 'I love this game. I want to show you I'm going to make it.'"

He was telling the truth.

Ryan Hood is an associate reporter for