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March 15: A Home Run in His First Game

March 14, 2016

11995231-mmmainKevin Youkilis, a three-time All-Star baseball player and two-time World Champion team member with the Boston Red Sox, was born in Cincinnati on this date in 1979. Youkilis broke into professional baseball in 2001, and was called up by the Red Sox in May 2004. In his first game, with his parents in the stands, he became the seventh player in history to hit a home run in his debut. Youkilis was hard-charging batter who got on base a lot, and a Golden Glove fielder, mostly at first base, where he set a record by playing 238 consecutive games without an error. His best year came in 2008, when he hit .312 with 29 homers, 115 runs batted in, and a slugging percentage of .560 for the World Champion Red Sox. Over a ten-year career, he had a .281 batting average, with 150 homers and 618 RBIs. “It’s something that I probably won’t realize until my career is over,” Youkilis says in the film Jews and Baseball: An American Love story, “how many people are really rooting for me and cheering for me. And it’s not just because I went 3-for-4, or had a great game. It’s just the fact that I represent a lot of Jewish people and a lot of the Jewish heritage, and the struggles that a lot of our people have had.”

“Fighting off pitches, fouling off pitches, laying off pitches, making it so the opposing pitcher can’t breathe; that’s my job.” —Kevin Youkilis