While the business side of baseball makes it much harder for players to stay with teams for a long time these days – even their hometown teams – that doesn’t mean those happy stories don’t happen anymore at all.
Friday night Poway, CA native and lifelong San Diego Padres fan Alex Dickerson made his long-awaited Petco Park debut and turned it into his first major league hit for good measure, singling in the 11th inning in the Padres extra-inning loss to the Phillies.
As Beth Maiman reported, the moment was not lost on the young outfielder: “My biggest thing is that I know, it’s going to be exciting, I just got to make myself feel normal.”
It was also a rewarding night for Padres interim manager Pat Murphy who also managed Dickerson in AAA and gave him the nickname “Bronco” for his intensity. He watched Dickerson hit 10 HR and over .300 in AAA before finally getting the call. Dickerson was drafted in 2008 out of high school by the Nationals but as a 48th round pick opted for college. That paid off as in 2011 he was drafted in the 3rd round by the Pirates.
In 2013, just his third year of pro ball in AA for the Pirates, he hit 17 HR and .288 before coming over to the Padres organization. He severely sprained his ankle in Spring Training 2014 which led to the discovery of a cyst on his ankle and so missed most of the 2014 campaign. Now, here he is.
"“It’s fulfilling to know that a little bit after a year you walk in and you finally got to step into this locker room for at least for a day.” said Dickerson."
As the 2015 season winds down and the Padres keep up their act of looking like contenders just long enough…before going on their current 4 game losing streak it is unsure how long Dickerson’s cup of coffee will be. Will Venable was just on paternity leave after all and it is well documented how many outfielders the Padres have including Melvin Upton Jr.who is getting paid a lot of money to be a 4th/5th outfielder. At first base his other position is fellow lefty Yonder Alonso who is having a pretty good season at the plate, hitting .275 but just 4 HR. If Dickerson can show some more power along with average, maybe he could supplant Alonso in 2016 at the position?
In the meantime, he is just enjoying his time here. As Murphy summed it nicely, “”It’s a great thrill for his family and all the people he knows, and just knowing inside that he made it to the Major Leagues in his hometown is just a beautiful story.”
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