Carlos Santana is one of the best names in baseball.
I got to hear it called on the stadium speakers for myself when Santana, whose name parallels a guitar music legend, played single-A baseball for the Cleveland Indians’ team in Kinston, N.C.
Lonnie Chisenhall, Jason Kipnis, Josh Tomlin. I heard those, too.
When I lived in Eastern North Carolina, Kinston Indians games were a real treat. I would argue that single-A baseball, at least that I experienced in those days at Grainger Stadium, was the best way to experience the sport.
Santana and his class-A teammates weren’t recognizable in name or in game back in those days, just six or seven years ago, but they are now household names due to the Cleveland Indians’ run to the franchise’s first World Series in nearly 20 years.
In addition to the historic nature of this year’s World Series, pitting teams that hadn’t experienced a championship in 108 and 68 years, I’ve enjoyed seeing the fruit of the labor of these men.
Many players don’t rise from single-A baseball to the Major Leagues. But these guys did, and even in seven-game defeat they excelled on the sport’s biggest stage. It’s a reminder that there still can be something of an “American dream.” I’d say it just takes the right combination of hard work, skill and luck.
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