'Papi!' Texas native Trevino authors walk-off to remember with Yankees

May 25th, 2022

NEW YORK -- From the first cup of coffee, the day had been emotional for . He sipped from a ceramic mug that was once his late father’s favorite -- one with Mickey Mantle’s rookie card printed on the side. Then the Yankees catcher heard about the tragic events in his home state, carrying that weight out to the field.

Trevino thought about the innocent schoolchildren of Uvalde, Texas, during Tuesday’s game. And on what would have been his father’s birthday, he wondered if his dad’s spirit would be somewhere in the building. As Trevino’s game-winning hit rolled toward the left-field corner, he could hold back no more, screaming, “Papí!” as the Yankees rallied for a 7-6, 11-inning victory over the Orioles at Yankee Stadium.

“I just want to start by saying, my thoughts and prayers are with everybody in Uvalde, Texas, tonight,” Trevino said, his eyes glassy and red. “I know y’all saw some tears, and there’s a reason behind it. My dad was a huge Yankees fan. He would always put me in these scenarios; he always said, ‘Ninth inning, down one, you need a base hit to tie the game or win the game at Yankee Stadium.’”

Joe Trevino passed away in 2013, but his son can still picture their version of “Yankee Stadium” in Ben Bolt, Texas, the acre-long lot with a large oak tree, where left and right field were short and drives toward center field would roll all day.

It was there that Joe Trevino -- nicknamed “Boogie” by close friends, for his affinity for the dance floor -- pumped thousands of tennis balls into the strike zone, his son still able to recall his instructions for running the bases: “Open your arms like you’re flying.”

“From a young age, he never forced me to play baseball, but when I wanted to, he was always there,” Trevino said. “It’s just crazy that he would put me in that scenario. This goes back to me being traded over here. He always said, ‘I’m preparing you to be a Yankee,’ like, always, always.”

Trevino had choked back tears on his first day as a Yankee, having been traded by the Rangers on April 2, but Tuesday was a difficult day for even the most hardened souls to keep a stiff upper lip. The Yankees observed a moment of silence in honor of the senseless events at Robb Elementary School, where at least 19 schoolchildren and two adults lost their lives in a mass shooting. Trevino, who said he lives about 90 minutes from there, found it difficult to focus on the ballgame -- but he had no choice.

“[I was] just thinking about them,” he said.

Trevino cracked his second home run of the season in the third inning, helping build an early lead with one of four Yankees homers hit off Baltimore starter Bruce Zimmermann. The O’s pushed back, claiming a lead as Austin Hays and Rougned Odor homered in a four-run seventh inning, but Trevino’s RBI single in the home half tied the game once more.

“He means so much to those guys, in such a short time in that room,” manager Aaron Boone said. “I’m just really happy for him. He’s been so instrumental in us being where we are at this point in the season.”

With the O’s on top in the 11th, having pushed home an automatic runner on a groundout, the Yankees pushed forward to claim their fifth walk-off win of the year. Facing Bryan Baker,  ripped a game-tying single and Trevino slashed a cutter past the dive of third baseman Ramón Urías, authoring a signature moment in pinstripes.

“He had watery eyes. It’s a great moment for him,” Kiner-Falefa said. “His [third] day in the big leagues [June 17, 2018, Texas vs. Colorado], I was on second base and it was Father’s Day, and his [second MLB] hit was a walk-off single. For me to score the winning run again, same situation, bigger stage … It’s incredible. It’s something you can’t explain. He’s going to remember it for the rest of his life.”

And it all started with that first cup of coffee, brewed from a Keurig cup. The ceramic mug with Mantle’s 1952 Topps card on the side is not the original that Trevino’s father once drank from; that one safely resides in his sister’s cupboard. The April trade sent Trevino searching on eBay for a replacement, which he purchased and had shipped to Yankee Stadium, awaiting the team’s arrival.

“I bought it from some guy; I wrote him a thank you letter,” Trevino said. “He probably doesn’t even know how much it means to me.”

Now, we all do.