ESPN News Services4 minutes to read
Drew Magee’s long road to the big leagues culminated in his first career catch on Wednesday night.
The 33-year-old, who played 1,155 games in 13 minor league seasons before being called up by the Pirates earlier this week, emerged as an eighth-inning hitter, hitting with a solo at-bat as Pittsburgh beat the team. Los Angeles Dodgers 8-1 at PNC Park.
Magee pinch hit Andrew McCutcheon with one out in the eighth inning and received a standing ovation from teammates in the Buccaneers dugout and the crowd littering the field. He pulled the first pitch he saw off an Alex Vesia error, then went into an 0-2 hole after being called for a pitch clock violation by home plate umpire Jeff Nelson. Magee made another mistake and then took a volley before taking a swing on Vesia’s slider.
“It’s the best stroke of luck I’ve ever had,” Maggie said with a smile.
When Magee was asked on the court after the game how the night felt, he added, “I really can’t[put it into words]. I can’t explain how I was feeling in the (hitter’s) box. I didn’t even know what to do. You guys were cheering me on.” I don’t know, I never expected it. During the trip, I thought I’m going to make my debut and it’s going to be a natural at the racket. It’s obviously special, but the crowd is chanting my name, I’ve got my parents here, my three brothers, a sister at home. I mean, this Incredible. Thank you all.”
254 average with 978 hits, 45 home runs, 354 RBIs and 222 stolen bases in the minors since he was recruited from Arizona by the Pirates in the 15th inning (No. 447 overall) in 2010. On Wednesday he marked 12 years, 10 months and 18 days since he was chosen.
The Pirates called him up over the weekend from Double-A Altoona — a told video of the call showed the heartfelt moment — when outfielder Brian Reynolds was placed on the bereavement list. Not finding a place to use Magee during his first two games in Pittsburgh, manager Derek Shelton was afraid of a repeat of 2019, when he was called up by the Minnesota Twins for a few days but didn’t appear in a game.
Shelton, who was a bench coach for the Twins, was glad he was able to get Maggi in this time.
“That was amazing. It was really cool,” Shelton said. “I mean to be able, for as long as I’ve known him, to be the one who was telling him (to hit him) was really cool.”
Magee said he had absolutely no regrets about spending more than a decade at the palace. However, he admitted that Pat Wednesday made all those years of chasing his dream worth it.
“I love baseball,” Magee said. “I’ve been grinding for 13 years but I’ve been doing what I love. The ultimate goal is the big leagues. Just getting here, my name is in history. I put on big league uniforms, shared the court with the greatest players in the world.”
Magee spent a few moments after the game visiting with his family along the box seat railing. The force of the moment hit him as soon as he saw his parents, who had made the trip from Phoenix, and other family members.
There was a lot of, ‘I love you,’ Maggie said. We are proud of you. I did it! “I saw my father crying. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him cry. All those years ago, I’d been wondering what I would tell my parents if that moment were to come. They were there with me. Hearing those words made it all worth it. I know the past 13 years have not been wasted.”
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