Many kids growing up in The Bronx playing baseball dream of playing for the Yankees right here in their own borough but competing with thousands across the country, for many, it’s just that—a dream.
But for one Bronx kid from Morris Park, his dreams have come true.
Andrew Velazquez, 27, made his debut with the Bronx Bombers as an infielder on Monday night in Kansas City against the Kansas City Royals in an 8-6 winning game with extra innings.
The 27-year-old baseball player grew up in the Morris Park section of the borough and went to St Francis Xavier and then onto Fordham Prep, where he played in the school’s ball team.
At Fordham, Velasquez started as a center fielder until becoming the team’s shortstop in his senior year.
Then in 2012, he was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks until being traded in 2014 to the Tampa Bay Rays, where he played for five years.
It wasn’t until December of 2020 that he finally arrived at the Yankees in a minor league contract, but on Monday, through a fluke of fate due to a thumb injury to shortstop Gleyber Torres, Velasquez was finally promoted to the Major Leagues by the Yankees.
MLB writes of Velasquez:
Velazquez said his dream of playing for the Yankees crystallized around age 10, when his parents booked a birthday party at the original Yankee Stadium. He was able to take photos on the field and toured Monument Park, vowing that he’d dedicate himself to getting back to that stage.
“This is something I’ve thought about since I was a child, so it’s amazing to me,” Velazquez said. “I used to have Yankee uniforms when I was a kid. I used to go to the Stadium all the time. I mean, this is where my love for baseball began.”
It’s beautiful when your dreams as a kid growing up in The Bronx become a reality against all odds. Much through our lives living in The Bronx, we’re facing and battling against many negative stereotypes.
But in many ways, that’s what makes us stronger and gives us that spirit of determination and perseverance to fight against all odds to be the best and leave a positive mark in this world.
Velasquez is that hometown dream come true of making it to the big leagues (literally). Living in the shadow of Yankee Stadium, home to some of the most storied ballplayers in history and the franchise with the most World Series wins, having taken home a whopping 27 victories, makes it a daunting and formidable task.
And yet, he persevered and made it.