Puerto Rico has been, and will always be Francisco Lindor’s home. Frankie will always be that young boy fielding ground balls as his father knocked them down the hill to him; and more than anything else, Lindor will always be that 12 year old boy who gave up everything to help his handicapped sister.
Growing up, Lindor dreamt of being a major league baseball player in Puerto Rico, playing day after day under the bright lights with sounds of banging pleneras and shaking maracas. The dreams of playing ball in his home country were cut short when Francisco learned that part of his family was moving to Central Florida to help find treatment for his sister who had cerebral palsy. At this point in time, Lindor had already shown flashes of immense potential, but he was met with a life changing circumstance. He had to leave his mother and two of his siblings to go play baseball in America, where he would have to learn a whole new language and adapt to a brand new culture in order to help his family.
Moving to America would prove to be the best decision for Francisco. Once he arrived in Florida, coaches at Montverde Academy heard of this young Puerto Rican’s potential, and offered him a scholarship to attended their prestigious high school. Lindor thrived playing high school baseball, dominating all of his competition and earning a full-ride scholarship to Florida State. He would turn this down, instead opting to enter the 2011 MLB Draft. This really was the only option for Frankie because becoming the 8th overall pick landed him a $2.9 Million signing bonus. This sum of money allowed him to bring the rest of his family to the United States. Lindor flied through the minors, making his major league debut in June of 2015 at Comerica Park in Detroit. (I had the good fortune to be at this game; however, a two hour rain delay and the Cavs playing in the finals lead us to leaving before I could see his first hit.)
Throughout his entire career, Lindor always made sure to show pride of his heritage. His big break came in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Team Puerto Rico was not expected to make it all that far in the tournament, but Lindor WENT OFF! Francisco batted over .400 and hit a handful of MONSTER home runs. After every play Lindor made, he would flash his classic pearly white smile, and celebrate with absolute jubilation. You could see the excitement glowing off of him. But sometimes it’s not just about sports. Through September and late October of last year, Hurricane Maria ravaged the country of Puerto Rico, destroying the infrastructure, and cutting off power lines, even to this day. Lindor quietly donated thousands of dollars to charities hoping to help those harmed by this horrific storm. Not only did Lindor donate money, he made countless trips to Puerto Rico this offseason, helping to deliver as many supplies as he could. These trips were not used as publicity stunts, not letting members of the Indians organization even know where he was. He just wanted to go help his people in need.
Lindor has swiftly rose to a top tier level of stardom in baseball: hitting huge home runs on offense, and flashing his platinum glove over at shortstop; however, he’s not just an athlete, Lindor is a humanitarian, always putting the needs of others in front of his own. When Lindor knocked a home run into the Puerto Rican stands against the Twins, it wasn’t just any home run for the kid, it was a home run for an entire country.
As Always, GO TRIBE
Follow the Author: @drew_thirion
Featured Image: (CBS SPORTS)