MEXICO CITY -- Xander Bogaerts grew up in Aruba, is fluent in four languages and has starred for Team Netherlands at the World Baseball Classic.
Fitting, perhaps, that such a worldly ballplayer would make international baseball history on Saturday evening in Mexico City.
With his fourth-inning home run off Giants right-hander Jakob Junis, Bogaerts became the first player in baseball history to homer in Major League games in four different countries -- USA, Canada, England and now Mexico.
“It’s incredible, to be honest with you,” Bogaerts said after the Padres had beaten the Giants in a 16-11 slugfest at Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú. “It’s something I never thought of. … It’s a pretty neat accomplishment.”
This weekend, the Padres and Giants are staging the first regular-season games played in Mexico City (where the altitude of over 7,300 feet was on full display with the two teams combining for 11 home runs -- two shy of the Major League record).
The majority of Bogaerts’ 162 career home runs, of course, have come in the United States, with a handful at Rogers Centre in Canada. Bogaerts also went deep for the Red Sox during MLB’s London Series in 2019.
“I guess I play good in [international games],” Bogaerts said. “Hopefully, that continues. Tonight was a really special night for our whole team. Let’s see if we can keep that going.”
Bogaerts’ feat comes with a bit of a caveat, however, as Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory. Both Tony Clark and Michael Brantley have homered in three countries, as well as Puerto Rico.