On November 1, 2015, baseball history was made. After an intense, 12-inning battle that went well into the night, Kansas City finally claimed their first world title in 30 years. As soon as pitcher Wade Davis recorded the final out, every KC player sprinted from the dugout, bullpen, outfield — wherever they were — and started to celebrate together by the mound. It was madness and, as series MVP Salvador Pérez recalls, a memory he will always cherish.
“I don’t even remember what I was thinking,” Pérez admitted. “We were all running towards each other and just started jumping. All of a sudden, my son came towards me and started grabbing my jersey, saying ‘Salvy! Salvy!’ but I was still distracted celebrating with my team. But he kept going ‘Salvy!’ and then he said ‘You’re the MVP of the series, you’re the winner!’ I was like ‘WHAT!?’ Okay, I had to stop a second for that. My little guy coming to me in that moment and telling me I won MVP, that’s a moment I’ll never forget.”
For the catcher, reaching the apex of the sport he loves was the culmination of a long, grueling journey. It goes back way further than his team’s heartbreaking defeat at the hands of San Francisco during the previous year’s title matchup. It even goes back further than 2006, when the Kansas City organization took a chance on a 16-year-old catcher who didn’t speak any English. It goes all the way back to when he was four years old, first learning the game of baseball in Venezuela.
“That was when I started playing the game,” Pérez said. “It was just tee ball, and we would play for fun, but that’s when I began to love it.”
His one constant throughout life was also his role model, his mom. A single mother, she was the one who encouraged him to take up the sport. “I lived with her and my grandma,” he explained. “They saw that I was an active kid and were always there for me.”
As he began to flourish on the diamond, his family saw how great he could be and gave him the push he needed when it came time for some difficult choices. “Signing with a big league team (at 16) was a tough decision,” Pérez explained. “I didn’t speak any English so that part was hard. But the hardest part was definitely leaving my mom and family in Venezuela.”
But with his family’s support and love, Pérez came to America and immediately started to stand out in KC’s system. “Even in a new country, I was still playing the same game,” he said. “From the minute I got here, I just played hard and had fun like I always do.”
It also helps that he has a cannon of an arm behind the plate and a dedicated training regimen. “My favorite thing to do during the game is throw people out who try to steal on me,” Pérez said. “That comes down to the work I do with my catching coach. We watch a lot of film of fast baserunners, work on consistency, and really making that perfect throw.”
Most of Pérez’s gym workouts focus on his lower body, so that he can explode out of his catcher’s stance at a moment’s notice. “That’s something I work on a lot with my trainer,” he said. “It’s all about trying to do the best job that I can.”
So now, with a championship ring and MVP trophy in tow, one would understand if the 26-year-old takes it a little easier during his training sessions and game-day prep. After all, he’s been to the mountaintop. But easing up hasn’t even crossed his mind.
“I will always work as hard as I can and keep that same level of energy,” Pérez said emphatically. “For me, it’s about making my mother proud.”
Looking for a new fielding glove or mitt? Why not check out the massive selection of player edition gloves that Eastbay has to offer? Let’s run through some of this year’s top options:
Wilson A2000 YP66 Fielder’s Glove: Yasiel Puig (OF)
LA’s Yasiel Puig is one of baseball’s most exciting outfielders. Time and time again, he makes incredible diving catches to rob hitters of extra bases. To help him makes those web gems, Yasiel wears the Wilson A2000 YP66 glove. It is made from Pro Stock Leather to give him the elite break-in and durability he needs.
Wilson A2000 MC24 First Base Mitt: Miguel Cabrera (1B)
From a larger size to help scoop up low throws to extra padding for repeated use, it takes more than a glove to be a first baseman. You need a mitt. So what one does future Hall-of-Famer Miguel Cabrera use? He wears the A2000 MC24 First Base Mitt. It features Super Skin material, which is twice as strong as cowhide leather and only half the weight. If it works great for ‘Miggy,’ it’ll work great for you.
Wilson A2000 CK22 Fielder’s Glove: Clayton Kershaw (P)
A glove built for a pitcher needs a closed web to help conceal your pitches and a durable design to handle those screaming line drives. That’s why three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw wears the A2000 CK22 glove. A dual-welted, pre-curved finger design retains the glove’s shape and Dri-Lex material lines the wrist to keep your hands dry.
Rawlings Heart of the Hide Catcher’s Mitt: Salvador Perez (C)
Three consecutive Gold Glove awards. A 2015 World Series MVP. No catcher has been better behind the plate the last few years than KC’s Salvador Perez, and the Rawlings Heart of the Hide Catcher’s Mitt is his secret weapon. With USA-tanned leather to withstand 95 mph fastballs, he can count on it to last and stay comfortable even if the game goes to extra innings.
Rawlings Heart of the Hide Fielder’s Glove: Adrian Beltre (3B)
Few players have had as productive of a career both offensively and defensively as third baseman Adrian Beltre. When he lines up at the hot corner there is only one glove he trusts: The Rawlings Heart of the Hide. Lined with deer-tanned cowhide, it gives him the long-lasting performance and comfort he needs. So should you gear up like him? Well, he does have four Gold Glove awards, so yes. Yes, you should.
Mizuno Global Elite VOP Fielder’s Glove: Ian Desmond (SS)
As a shortstop or second baseman, you can turn the tides in your favor by turning a double play or end your team’s hopes with an errant throw. Your glove needs to fit great, last a long time, and provide zero distractions. That’s why shortstops like Ian Desmond use gloves like the Mizuno Global Elite VOP. A rugged polyurethane patch protects the glove from normal wear and tear and an antimicrobial cushioned wrist pad keeps Ian comfortable.
Nike Vapor 360 Flywire Fielder’s Glove: Carlos Gonzalez (OF)
If you are looking for an outfield glove with a flashy look and innovative design, look no further than the Nike Vapor 360 Flywire. Worn by Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez, a three-time Gold Glove winner, this glove backs up its bold style with lots of cutting edge technology. Flywire technology is featured in the FlyTune lacing system for a personalized shape while the Hyperfuse construction fuses together layers of synthetic materials to make the glove incredibly lightweight and responsive.
But here’s the crazy part: we haven’t even began to scratch the surface of our collection of gloves! No one has more game-day options than Eastbay. From Evan Longoria, to Brandon Crawford, there’s a good chance we have the style you’re looking for.