Who doesn’t love a good underdog story? Chris Denorfia might be one of the greatest underdog stories in the history of Padres baseball. I love the guy — he has fought through adversity to become a legitimate big league player.
Denorfia had Tommy John surgery back in 2007 and missed the whole season. The season before that, Deno saw his first extensive playing time with Cincinnati. He saw sporadic playing time after that, but was essentially a AAAA player.
‘s career changed for the better in 2009, when he signed a minor league deal with the Padres. Most of us figured he would be spare parts outfielder, a guy just provided a little organizational depth. Deno turned out to be much more than that.
Denorfia made the big league club in 2010 and hit a career-high nine homers that year. He also played all three outfield positions, winning me over with his all-out style of play. Besides, who could forget Deno’s inside-the-park homer that was chopped over the head of the third baseman at Dodgers Stadium. That was one of the funniest moments I ever witnessed on a baseball field.
Deno is not a star — and he doesn’t have to be. I love him for the effort and passion he plays the game with. Every team needs a guy like Deno. The Padres awarded the scrappy outfielder with his first multi-year contract last year, keeping the Italian Stallion in San Diego. Congratulations Deno, you deserve it.