Monday, September 15, 2008

Neighborhood Legends

The news was carried by the wind.

It blew across the Harlem River and came down every street in High Bridge. It cut over on East 164th Street and moved along River Avenue passed the construction of the new Yankee Stadium and behind the bleachers of the old Yankee Stadium.

Then it slipped around the corner at East 157th Street and came up to the Grand Concourse. It swirled down to Mott Haven and up to East Tremont and over to Hunts Point.

“Humberto Sanchez is coming home.”

The guys gathered around Juan Carlos’s coffee cart couldn’t stop smiling.

“The kid is going to be a Yankee,” said Juan Carlos, who gave his regulars free donuts to celebrate. “He will be pitching at the big ballpark.”

Juan Carlos shook his head.

“It’s hard for some of us to put that into words,” he said, “but we are all very happy.”

Sanchez became a local legend pitching at South Bronx High School. Then it was on to Rockland Community College and Connors State Junior College. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers and made minor-league stops in Oneonta, New York and Grand Rapids, Michigan and Lakeland, Florida and Erie, Pennsylvania and Toledo, Ohio. Then there was the trade to Yankees and Tommy John surgery and rehab and another minor-league trip through Tampa, Florida and Trenton, New Jersey.

Someone banged on Juan Carlos’s apartment door last night and told him that the long journey was over and Sanchez had been called up to the big leagues. He thought he would be able to bring the good news to his customers this morning.

“They all knew,” he said. “It was like everyone was informed the instant Humberto got the call.”

Neighborhood legends travel on the wind around here.


Donna said...

Great story. I hope we get to see him pitch tonight.

JoeyBoy said...

I hear the kid is a hard thrower, but that his velocity is just starting to come back after the TJ surgery. Should that lead me to believe that he will be 100 percent in spring training?

Ron W. said...

Another good arm getting ready. I like it.

Henry said...

Looks like the bullpen is going to be strong next year.