We’ve all had a loved one who has suffered from some sort of substance abuse problem or mental illness, some of us have even been that loved one. Addiction isn’t racist or classist, it can affect anyone. Such is true for Astros’ catcher Evan Gattis – who instead of going to play for Texas A&M after high school like he originally planned – he went to rehab. Dealing with substance abuse problems, he told his father “I don’t want to talk baseball anymore, I’m done.”
Like many young people unsure of what to do next, he began to bounce from job to job. Starting off as a parking valet in Dallas, he moved on to work as a ski lift operator in Colorado, then had to beg for food when he was broke in New York City. After all that, he found himself driving all the way to California in search of a spiritual adviser to help him find his purpose.
On his way home from California he called his step brother Drew Kendrick – who at the time was a pitcher at the University of Texas-Permian Basin – “I’m ready to play again,” he said – Drew told Houston’s ABC 13, “That’s all I ever needed to hear.”
Fast-forward to 2010 Gattis was drafted by the Atlanta Braves, who eventually traded him to the Astros in 2015. He’s battled through injuries along the way – including back in August when he was hit on the side of the head on a back-swing by Rays’ Corey Dickerson – but he’s tougher than most. I mean, the guy doesn’t even wear batting gloves.
Like many young ball players Gattis used to picture himself rounding the bases on television. Though life may have temporarily derailed him – as it does to so many – his destiny was already set in stone all those years ago. With a story that reads like you should be hearing a director yell “Cut!” at the end — he’s now a World Series Champion. Bravo.