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Harrison Bader’s legacy as a Yankee

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When Bronxville, New York, native Harrison Bader was traded from the St. Louis Cardinals to the New York Yankees on August 2, he immediately returned to some of his favorite restaurants: Caridad Express, a Dominican restaurant in the Bronx; best pizza in the first; A local deli where in high school he routinely ate bacon, eggs and cheese on blueberry toast in the morning. That’s right, blueberry.

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New Yorkers take their donuts seriously—after all, it’s a decades-old debate across the five boroughs about how to make the starchy breakfast item—so the quarterback’s funky new American preference for sweet and savory raised a few eyebrows when it crept into the social media world.

And last month, under the pressure of baseball in October, Bader, after rarely playing for New York in the regular season thanks to a nagging right-foot injury, began doing something else somewhat unexpected: hitting a home run. Five of them, in fact, over the course of nine postseason games, making him the fifth player in Yankee history with five or more long balls in the postseason.

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With only 52 people to his name entering the playoffs, a surge of strength came from the kid growing up 11 miles north of Yankee Stadium who idolized Derek Jeter out of nowhere.

“Yes, this [Bader’s impact] Yankees left fielder Nestor Curtis said before Game 3 of the ALCS, a series his team eventually lost to the world champion Houston Astros in four games. “Obviously we took him here and he got injured. We didn’t know what to expect from him. But he definitely turned it on. He’s definitely been a great guy for us in every qualifying situation so far. He’s a great club guy. He’s really good people. He takes care of all the guys.” who are there, which is also what makes it great.

“He adapted to what we were doing here, the philosophy we had, and it crystallized with us. So, for him to come out and do it with us and perform how he was performing, it was amazing.”

Yankees manager Aaron Boone added, “He’s had a great postseason. He hits the ball out of the field… I feel like he’s putting together a lot of big hits.”

Yankee fans in the Tri-State area were initially frustrated with the August 2 trade that sent starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery to the St. Louis Cardinals for Bader, a 28-year-old quarterback in walking shoes. However, Said’s pessimism was soon subsided on the evening of October 11 during the ALDS opener in New York against the Cleveland Guardians when Bader, who will represent Israel in the World Baseball Classic this spring thanks to his father, Louis, being a practicing Jew (a fascinating story in (Self where Bronxville used to have a reputation for not welcoming members of the Jewish community along with other minorities), took down the fences in the bottom of the third inning. In doing so, he became the only Yankee to hit their first Series home run in the postseason.

After hitting three homers against Cleveland in the ALDS, Harrison Bader hit two more in the ALCS to cement his legacy as a New York Yankee. // Photos courtesy of the New York Yankees

In attendance were more than 100 friends and relatives including Lewis, a retired tax attorney who spent many summer evenings pounding the ground with his pup in the rocky sandfields of New York City and who was eventually introduced by Harrison (not to be confused with his grandfather “Harry” ) Shortstop reaches for center field. Which meant that years later, as a Yankee, he would patrol the same spot at Yankee Stadium that his father’s hero, Mickey Mantle, had done 60 years earlier.

“You know, I just focus on the things I can control day in and day out,” Bader said, when asked how he compares a childhood fantasy of starring for the Yanks to living it up in reality. “One of those things that is not in my control is how I move as a private piece at this level. I just see trading here as a coincidence, and I’m just looking to profit from it every day.

“It’s definitely sweet, but, you know, I’m here again to play ball. I’m here to win. But to be able to do it in a Yankees uniform is definitely sweet, there’s no doubt about it. That’s not going to change no matter the circumstances, no matter what.” About the outfit.

Bader’s colorful personality within the confines of the Yankee Club – he wears vibrant graphic T-shirts and Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Dunky sneakers – belies his often unemotional demeanor in public as evidenced by such comments. Undoubtedly, he comes across as a thoughtful, earnest young man who, unlike some of his twenty-something contemporaries across Major League Baseball, has no interest in histrionics or showboats.

When asked during the ALCS if this was a dream—a tone-setting homer blasted in Game 1 of the ALDS at Yankee Stadium, where he watched the 2009 Yankees capture the World Series, on his way to carrying New York to the ALCS—Bader, always aware of staying in the moment, answered , quite simply, “It’s a dream to be in a big league uniform. I’ve always wanted to win a World Series and we’re far from it. But just to be in a big league uniform has always been my dream.”

It was easy to get swept up in the present moment in October. But it clearly wouldn’t have helped to post a 0.333 average and 1.262 OPS to go along with the historic five homeowners.

“Remaining as dispassionate as possible and taking care of baseball in all aspects is my unique focus.”

Although the Yankees, of course, haven’t stayed true to their singular focus – snapping a thirteen-year World Series drought – the offensive rip-off from Bader, a 2021 Gold Glove winner who has one year left on his existing contract, now bodes well for the deeply disgraced franchise whose He may lose his key player in Aaron Judge to free up the agency this season.

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