Pagés' 2nd HR in front of dad caps 'fairy tale' Father's Day series

June 16th, 2024

ST. LOUIS -- When was forced to Uber to the big leagues, it was his father, Edgar, who was the first one to burst into tears as the two communicated via FaceTime as the Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium came into view.

It was also Edgar who cried tears of happiness when he was seated just behind home plate at historic Wrigley Field on Friday when Pedro broke a 0-0 tie with a dramatic eighth-inning homer that was his first in the Majors.

However, on Sunday, when Pedro connected for his second big league homer -- nearly in the same spot as Friday’s blast -- and the Cardinals made it stand up for a 2-1 victory over the Cubs with some stellar pitching and clutch defense, it was the son who started bawling even before the postgame embrace with his father.

“We had a moment on the field where we were both crying, but I actually started it first this time,” said the rookie catcher, whose pitch-framing skills and long-ball prowess helped the Cardinals win their second series over the Cubs. “This time [the tears] were my fault. There are just so many happy thoughts and heavy emotions and I’m trying to enjoy it all right now.”

Seated some 20 rows behind home plate and where his son caught all three games in the series, Edgar said he felt like he was working in tandem with his son. The Miami-based family could have waited until Monday to see Pedro play while the Cardinals were in town to face the Marlins, but instead they decided to make the trek to Wrigley Field for Father’s Day weekend. Talk about impressive Father’s Day gifts; Pedro is likely going to have a hard time ever topping the present he gave Edgar over the three-game series against the rival Cubs.

“It was a lot of emotions and I’ve been crying the whole time,” said Edgar, who worked in the restaurant and real estate businesses in Venezuela to be able to move his family to America two decades ago so they could have a better quality of life. “Right before he did it [on Friday] I told [daughter Maria] that he was going to hit it out of the park. I am just over the moon ecstatic with how great it has all been.

“This is such a big family thing for all of us. Pedro started playing baseball at 4 years old, he played travel ball, and he worked his way up from the Minor Leagues. We’ve all been together every step of the way. This moment is so surreal for us, and I can’t even control my emotions right now.”

On Friday, Pagés hit a hanging sweeper from Hayden Wesneski for a solo home run that broke a scoreless tie and propelled the Cards to a 3-0 series-opening victory. On Sunday, Pagés jumped all over another hanging sweeper -- this time from Chicago starter Jameson Taillon -- and similarly deposited it just a few feet beyond the wall in left-center.

The two-run, second-inning shot gave the Cardinals an early lead and Miles Mikolas (5-6), Ryan Fernandez (fourth hold), Andrew Kittredge (19th hold) and Ryan Helsley (MLB-leading 24th save) made it stand up. Helsley tied the franchise record with his 24th consecutive save, but even he knew that the story of the day -- if not the weekend or the season to this point -- was St. Louis' 25-year-old catcher.

“It’s special and almost like a fairy tale,” Helsley said of Pagés. “As a kid, you grow up dreaming of these types of moments, especially in a game like this. Division rival … day game at Wrigley … sold-out crowd … you couldn’t write a better script than that.”

Feeling somewhat as if he was the central figure in some syrupy-sweet Disney movie, Pagés said it was no coincidence that his biggest weekend as an MLB player came with his family sitting just a few rows back of him. His fiancée, Kori, was seated there all weekend and had her parents on hand to bolster the Pagés cheering section.

Having his sister, Maria, alongside his father just made the moment even sweeter. Edgar was always Pagés' hitting coach in his younger days and his biggest cheerleader when he toiled in the Minors and wondered if his big league shot would ever materialize. Their presence made the whole weekend feel like a true family affair.

“Having my dad here at my games at this level, it’s something we always talked about and dreamed about together,” Pagés said. “Spending time together and talking about everything that happened after the game has been so nice. This will go a long way for all of us. It’s better than a phone call, for sure.”