I’ve been a Javier Baez fan since shortly after he was drafted 9th overall in the 2011 Major League Baseball draft by the Chicago Cubs. Baez had an amazing senior year at Arlington Country Day High School in Jacksonville, Florida. How amazing? He hit .771 (64 hits in 83 at bats), 22 home runs, 20 doubles, and 52 RBI.
Baez had a Bowman Chrome autograph in 2011. It was the first time I made a prospecting purchase. I paid about $11 shipped for a BCCG 9 Baez chrome auto. At the time I didn’t know the difference between a BCCG or PSA. It was slabbed, so I thought it was good. Despite the BCCG factor, it’s one of my favorite cards in my collection because Baez became my favorite Cubs prospect, and now my favorite big league Cubs player. Added bonus that he’s become an exciting must-watch player in the game.
In May 2012, Baez was ready to make the jump to full season professional baseball. It coincided with my one summer working for the Midwest League’s Peoria Chiefs. Read more on that summer in this Chiefs ’12 retrospective. Baez made his Chiefs debut in Peoria on May 28, 2012, and I had a press box seat as an audio producer for the radio broadcast.
Here’s what the entire Chiefs lineup looked like for Javier’s debut.
Quickly, Baez was putting on a show during batting practice across the Midwest League.
And then the game began, and we first saw a glimpse of what “El Mago” would become famous for. Aggressive base running!
See for yourself!
Baez put the ball into play in his third at bat, but it was another out.
And Baez finished his first game with another single.
Then there were all the Javy trade rumors. I’m very happy that the Cubs brass were patient with Baez and he’s still in Cubbie blue. And I can continue collecting Baez Cubs cards!
Thankfully, I was diligent in tracking Javy’s full-season professional baseball debut. Below, is my diary of that first night of Javier Baez in Peoria.