DETROIT – It was a dream start -- first at-bat, first Major League pitch.
Detroit Tigers Outfielder Akil Baddoo’s parents, Akilah and John Baddoo, were at Comerica Park, where you could feel the excitement.
Akil Baddoo’s journey to the moment is what makes it great. After playing High-A ball in the Twins organization, he hurt his arm in 2019 and had to get the Tommy John surgery. The following year, COVID-19 hit and the Minor League were shut down, which meant Baddoo was at home in Georgia.
“It was definitely the point of questioning himself. Questioning where are we? What am I going to do?” said Akilah Baddoo.
Akil was just throwing in the backyard with his younger brothers, wondering what might happen. The Tigers then picked him up in the Rule 5 Draft last winter.
His father had a feeling it was the right fit.
“We said we’re going to Detroit,” said John Baddoo.
How did they know. Akil’s parents said he always had a penchant for making big plays -- Little League, high school, travel ball.
Second game out, he hits a grand slam.
“When he hit the grand slam, my legs got weak and I could barely stand,” said John Baddoo.
In the next game, a walk-off. Last Tuesday, another homer, making him the first Tiger in history to hit four home runs in his first career eight games.
From throwing in his backyard to making history in the Major League, it’s been quite a ride. The Baddoos said they’re keeping their son grounded. His father sends him inspirational texts pre-game and his mom talks to him daily.
“My mom, she’s my rock. She talks to me every day and she the person I can go to for advice,” Akil said in an interview earlier this month.
The family formula is working for Akil and for the Tigers, which continues to give him at-bats and he continues to deliver.