Encarnacion celebrates historic debut with family

June 21st, 2022

This story was excerpted from Christina De Nicola's Marlins Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

How did  celebrate one of the greatest Major League debuts in history? Not by shopping with ace Sandy Alcantara for promised new clothes, but by spending time at his cousin Randy's place in Brooklyn.

Encarnacion, who became the first NL/AL player since at least 1901 to hit a grand slam, record an outfield assist and steal a base in his first MLB game, found out he was going to start just hours earlier on Sunday morning. So, around 10 of his friends and family members went to Citi Field to watch the Marlins beat the Mets, 6-2. Afterwards, they eagerly waited outside the visiting clubhouse for Encarnacion.

"They told me that they had a lot of plans for yesterday and they had to cancel every single one of them just to come and watch the game," Encarnacion said via an interpreter. "They told me it was fully worth it, that it was something very special being here for me."

It became an even more emotional scene when Encarnacion's mother, Carmela, and father, Manuel, back home in the Dominican Republic, were put on a video call.

"My mom almost fainted," Encarnacion said. "She had to drink some water with sugar. She was very, very excited."

Miami's No. 20 prospect had been part of the taxi squad for the first two games of last week's Phillies series before rejoining Triple-A Jacksonville. He then received his first callup on Friday, when Jesús Sánchez and Jesús Aguilar landed on the injured list. Randy, whom Encarnacion considers a brother because their birthdays are one day apart and they grew up together, took him for a haircut. But Encarnacion had to wait until Sunday for his chance at a Major League debut.

"I was ready since I got here, prepared for anything to help the team," Encarnacion said.