The Chicago Cubs ended a 108-year title drought via a thrilling 8-7 win against the Cleveland Indians in the deciding Game 7 of the Major League Baseball World Series.
It was sweet victory for the Cubs who last won the crown in 1908 when they defeated the Detroit Tigers, 4-1.
But there’s more to celebrate for the Cubs and for Filipino fans as Addison Russell, a Filipino-American, made history by becoming the youngest player to hit a grand slam in a World Series game since 1953 when Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle did the same feat.
“It’s kind of been throughout the whole year, being part of the Cubs, you’re put in the limelight. And early on, you’re forced to deliver whenever the game’s kind of on the line. So having that practice throughout the whole season, and then, finally, here comes the big moment in the postseason, in the World Series,” the 22-year-old Addison told ESPN.com.
“It’s just, I wouldn’t say it’s bread and butter, but you definitely learn to control those feelings, so you’re able to see the ball and able to think about pitch counts and all that stuff,” he added.
Addison, whose mother Milany hails from Olongapo City, notched the grand slam in Game 6 to power the Cubs to a 9-3 win that sent the series to a rubber match.
Besides the grand slam, Russell also had six RBIs (runs batted in) in that game to tie a World Series record with three other players.
Milany, who said she had been supportive of her son’s career decisions, couldn’t hide her emotions on Addison’s feat.
“Watching your son do his dream, it’s surreal for all of us and we couldn’t be more proud of him. He’s always in a good state of mind when family’s around. His family is his strength,” Milany told ABS-CBN News Chicago’s Connie Macatula-de Leon.
“I don’t think that he is really aware of the magnitude of how much Filipinos are proud of our own because he is so humble about things. He doesn’t look at himself as a super famous guy. He just thinks he’s a normal kid who loves to play ball and living his dream,” she added.
Milany said she kept Addison attuned to Filipino traditions. He eats the meat dish adobo, for instance.
Addison represented the US in international competitions as he was a member of the US 18-under team that won the gold medal in the 2011 Cope 18-Under Pan American Games held in Cartagena, Colombia where he scored his famous grand slam hit.
Since his MLB debut in April 2015, Addison has recorded 34 home runs, 149 RBIs and a batting average of .240.
Before entering MLB, Russell played for the Arizona League Athletics, hitting .415/.488/.717. His stint there was highlighted by six home runs and 29 RBIs in 26 outings. He also saw action for the Vermont Lake Monsters and Burlington Bees.