So Yankee fans know about Brett Gardner, the speedster for the New York Yankees, who happens to be very talented defensively and leaves pitchers wary of pitching to him. But it’s not because of power, it’s because of contact, and though most MLB players can make a double on a ball to left/center/right field, Gardner is able to turn a double into a triple with ease. Although we see Brett Gardner the New York Yankee LF, most fans don’t know his story of how he became a New York Yankee.
Born in Holly Hill, South Carolina, Gardner had always enjoyed competing. His father had spoken that Gardner was always competitive even if it came down to eating an ice cream cone. In 2001 as a College Freshman at the College of Charleston, Gardner attended a walk on tryout for College Baseball. The coach had told the players that he would give them a call if they had made the team. Gardner never received that call, but that didn’t stop him from persevering to be on the team, so the next morning he arrived in his High School uniform. While the coach asked what he was doing there, Gardner convinced him that he believed he could make the team. The coach agreed to let him join, but if he wasn’t doing well he was going to have to be cut from the team. Gardner ended up being a three-year starter on the College of Charleston.
New York Yankees scouts were interested in him, so when Gardner was 20 years old, they drafted him on the Yankees. In 2007, Gardner played for Double A Trenton, and though he missed most of the season due to a broken thumb, he had 203 at bats, stole 18 bases, hit 5 triples and his batting average was a solid .300 with a .392 average. He would soon get the call up from manager Joe Girardi on June 30, 2008.
On July 2, 2008, Gardner had his first major league at bat off Texas Rangers rookie at the time Warner Madrigal. Gardner stole his first stolen base in the major leagues that same day, scoring that same inning. Although Gardner was sent back to Triple A, that didn’t stop Girardi from seeing the potential Gardner had. He called him up once again came September and Gardner didn’t disappoint. He scored the final run in the old Yankee Stadium.
In 2009, Gardner won the the job of starting center fielder from Melky Cabrera. On May 13, 2009, Gardner hit his first home run in Toronto and on May 15, 2009 he scored on an inside the park home run. It took Gardner approximately 14 seconds to go around the bases. In June 26, 2009 while replacing Derek Jeter in the lead-off spot, Gardner hit his first 5 hit game, which included a home run, three singles and a triple, just short of the cycle.
Apparently the Toronto Blue Jays were what made Gardner strong, since had hit 2 more home runs off of them in 2010. One was his first career grandslam and his second was his second career inside the park home run. Since being in Double A, Gardner had became more disciplined at the plate, able to slap the ball into left/right/center, able to walk and recently able to perfect a bunt to get a single. Though overlooked, Gardner deserves more credit than he is given, and this had shown his perseverance and dedication to the game. Though he is not a power hitter like Alex Rodriguez or Mark Teixeira, Gardner brings more to the table than most players combined, due to his speed, defense and love for the game.