'Living legend' Jazz sinks Mets with huge HR

September 10th, 2021

MIAMI -- A living legend.

Those were the words emblazoned on 's T-shirt following the Marlins’ 3-2 comeback win over the Mets on Thursday at loanDepot park, a win secured by his go-ahead homer in the eighth inning. Miami has captured four of its past five series -- three against contenders.

Just a 23-year-old rookie, Chisholm has the long-term goal of reaching the Hall of Fame. It’s no secret among his teammates, who made him come up with a speech during the first road trip of the season. It’s fitting, seeing as Marlins CEO Derek Jeter’s words the day before kept him entranced during the early stages of batting practice. The mentor and mentee share the No. 2. Chisholm also came up in the Minors as a shortstop.

Earlier in the season, Chisholm didn’t shy away from saying that he was trying to win a head-to-head matchup with Braves All-Star Ronald Acuña Jr. as the pair traded highlights. Chisholm maintained that same mentality on Thursday with fellow second baseman Javier Báez. It’s part of his plan of reaching living legend status.

“Every time I see someone on the field that's a superstar that I'm going up against, I feel that I need to be better than them,” Chisholm said. “I already set my long-term goal to be who I want to be, and those are the guys that I've got to play better than to be that guy every day. Every day I see them step up on the field, that's who I try to compete against, the best guys out there.”

On Thursday, that opponent was Báez. The Mets’ two-time All-Star doubled in the first, then advanced to third on a wild pitch by avoiding a tag with a swim move. He later scored on another wild pitch. Then, after going deep in the third, Báez stole two bases in the sixth.

In the bottom of the sixth, Chisholm used his elite sprint speed to beat out a potential double play on an RBI fielder’s choice (30.8 feet per second), steal his 19th base (29.8 feet per second) and reach third on Bryan De La Cruz’s lineout to right field (29.1 feet per second).

“I think he's always trying to make plays,” manager Don Mattingly said of Chisholm. “I know he stole the base right after getting us that first run. ... You had a pretty good feel that he was going to try to get that bag at second. I think he's always, in general, trying to make plays and trying to do something. You like that. You want guys going forward. I don't know if one guy he's trying to outplay another, but I wouldn't doubt it.”

No doubt, since that fits Chisholm’s winning personality. As much of a playmaker as Báez has been for the Cubs and Mets in his career, the Marlins hope Chisholm will be the same for them. He is just at the earlier stages, with growing pains along the way. Through 102 games in his first full Major League season, Chisholm is slashing .253/.311/.434 with a .745 OPS.

In the eighth inning, Chisholm launched Jeurys Familia’s 97.8 mph sinker about halfway up the second deck for his 15th homer of the season. Before Chisholm headed to the plate, family and friends in attendance had challenged him to do something. He had an RBI, but was hitless in his first three at-bats. Once Chisholm rounded the bases, he pointed to fellow Bahamian and Marlins prospect Ian Lewis.

“Jazz is always trying to do something, and he seems to have a little flair for the dramatic,” Mattingly said. “That was a beautiful swing, and I'm not sure I've seen a ball go further than that here in this building. That ball was stomped on.”

With the decisive blow, Chisholm became the second Marlins rookie to have 15 homers and 15 stolen bases in a season, joining Hanley Ramirez in 2006. They are also the only middle infielders in club history to accomplish the feat.

Could Chisholm reach the 20-20 milestone with 22 games to go?

“It would be nice to be 20-20,” Chisholm said. “By God's grace, I [will] get there. The goal was way higher than that, and if I get there, I still wouldn't be satisfied with 20-20.”

After all, that’s the mentality of a living legend.