The black and red bat was adorned with a number and three names. For Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, each was an individual tribute.
As the Royals opened Major League Baseball’s first ever Players Weekend on Friday night at Progressive Field, Hosmer sought to honor his family, including his father, Mike, a former firefighter in Miami.
“You guys all know I’m pretty tight with my family,” Hosmer said on Friday afternoon, before a 4-0 loss to Cleveland. “And it’s all stuff I want to represent.”
Players Weekend arrived this year as a three-day promotion of sorts, allowing players to showcase their personalities on the field. So in the weeks leading up to the weekend, Hosmer delivered instructions to Jeff Davenport, the Royals’ senior director of team travel. Davenport passed along the specs to the bat manufacturer. The result arrived on Friday.
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Hosmer decorated his bat with a fire department shield and the number 260, which represented his father’s badge number while he worked at Station 9 in the Liberty City neighborhood of Miami. He also added three names: “Torito,” or Little Bull, his grandparents’ nickname for him when he was a child; and “Mima” and “Epa,” the nicknames of two grandparents who had passed.
“Pretty good to be able to play with this for a weekend,” Hosmer said.