Rangers first baseman Joey Gallo told a story about how his days as Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper’s personal youth catcher came to an end. The two grew up together in Las Vegas and were quite the youth baseball battery.
All that came to an end when they were about 9 years old after Harper made Gallo cry. He switched positions and never caught again.
“There was one game we were playing in Vegas, and he just struck out to end the inning and I could see he was pretty upset. So, I’m like, ‘Oh, ok. Here we go.’ You know? And I didn’t really know what I was doing behind there. I was just able, had the ability to catch a guy throwing hard.”
“I think first pitch is wild, next pitch comes in – he’s not even looking when he’s throwing. His head’s snapping the other way. [Throws the next pitch] right in the dirt, and I try to just scoop it – no idea what I’m actually doing trying to block. Hits me in the ribs. Take my helmet off, I’m crying, coming out of the game, coach comes up to me, takes me out to the stands and my mom gets me some ice cream. His mom’s sitting there feeling bad. And after that I obviously never caught again.”
“My parents were like, ‘No more of that. You’re playing short. You’re playing third.’ So, that was it for my catching career, so you can thank Bryce Harper for that one. I remember it like it was yesterday – the exact field, the exact ice cream I had, everything. It’s a funny memory.”
Harper was an absolute beast, even as a 9 year old. At least Gallo got an ice cream out of the deal.