Many boys grow up seeing their fathers put on a suit and tie every morning and can’t wait to follow in their footsteps.
Gerald Bautista watched his father, Daniel Bautista, sport the Major League Baseball pinstripes of the Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves, Florida Marlins and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Instead of seeing his father get a promotion at the office, he watched him win a World Series ring with the Diamondbacks in 2001.
Originally from the Dominican Republic, Danny Bautista played in the major league for over 12 years, debuting in 1993 for the Detroit Tigers. When an ankle injury forced him into retirement in 2005 he had amassed 685 hits and a career batting average of .272.
At just 18-years old, Gerald is already on his way to catching up. Signed right out of Steinbrenner High School in Lutz, Florida by the Cleveland Indians, Gerald is currently playing rookie ball in Arizona and while he hopes to soon move up in the organization, the enjoyment of playing is what drives him.
“The one thing that inspired me to play baseball was my love of the game,” Bautista said. “I wanted to keep the legacy of my family.”
Bautista started playing baseball at 7-years old and by 10 he was playing travel ball. After many showcases, rigorous team workouts and various tryouts, he was scouted as a high school player.
“The game is simple to me: travel ball; high school; and professional,” Bautista said, though he added it has not got easier as he has moved up.
“The game gets faster and there’s a lot more competition in professional baseball,” Bautista said.
Bautista, now in his third year of professional ball, started out playing first and third base. During his second year he moved to catcher but a leg injury forced him to move back to the infield.
Bautista said a regular day revolves around the routine of baseball and includes “going to the field, gym, practice, play and sleep.”
Bautista’s close friend, Jonathon Rada, said Bautista isn’t the type of person to ever take a day off.
“I always remember Gerald as being a very hard worker,” Rada said.
“Constantly training everyday, trying to reach his goal. Ever since I met him, he would always tell me about his training and leave me wondering if he ever had a day off.”
The offseason doesn’t bring Bautista any rest.
“The offseason for me is trying to get one percent better each day. Win the day basically. Go to the gym, spend some time with my loved ones, have a normal professional life,” Bautista said.
Bautista said if he wasn’t a baseball player he could see himself as a news anchor or an actor but he said he loves “the grind, the hustle and the ambition” that comes with being a baseball player and for now he envisions himself one day sporting a big league uniform.
“I plan on moving forward with baseball until my body says that I can’t play anymore. This is my career this is what I chose to do with my life,” Bautista said.
“It’s the one thing that I know how to do best.”