It didn’t really hit Colleyville Heritage baseball coach Alan McDougal until he stood there on opening day inside the Royals team store of Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium. The line was long, McDougal recalled, and there was one common item in the hands of those in it: a Bobby Witt Jr. No. 7 jersey, priced at $160.
“I just think, he’s the kid who came to camp as a six-year-old and I could see through four years of high school, and all of a sudden his jerseys are hanging on the wall and people stand in,” McDougal said, “and they sell them out as fast as they can print them at that pro shop.
“That’s when I’m going to have a damn smoke: I thought it was a big deal, but I think it goes deeper than I even imagined.”
That day, the same day Witt became the first modern-era MLB player to have his first career hit, an extra hit in the eighth inning or later, McDougal realized that the Colleyville Heritage kid had become a booming MLB. star.
This week, this star is going home.
Witt and the Royals begin a three-game series with the Texas Rangers on Tuesday at Globe Life Field. This will be Witt’s first appearance in Texas. McDougal will try to be there all three days, but on Wednesday the school expects to have hundreds in Sections 106 and 209 cheering on Witt.
Witt, declared the game’s top prospect before breaking into MLB, hit his first MLB home run on Tuesday. He’s hitting .231 a month in his rookie season with seven RBIs and four stolen bases.
There’s been a lot of noise surrounding Witt’s return, McDougal said, but there’s a unique ringtone. For those at Legacy, it’s a chance to see firsthand an event they’ve thought would happen for years. For them, it’s not even a surprise that it happened so quickly.
“I think this is just the next step for Bobby,” McDougal said.
Witt’s return to Dallas-Fort Worth will come just over three years after he brought Colleyville Heritage its first baseball state championship – something the youngest of four siblings has always wanted to accomplish. . He used to do that.
In the Witts’ family suite on opening day were two photos of Witt as a young baseball player. Next to them was a checklist Witt had written as a child with 10 goals he wanted to achieve one day. At 21, he’s done them all — from going to college to Heritage, to making MLB — except two: He was the second draft pick, not the first, and he didn’t make an MLB All-Star. Game, again.
“It’s just check, check, check, check,” McDougal said with a chuckle. “That’s just the kind of man this young man is.”
And just the kind of things he’s done throughout his career. That’s why Jack Bachman, infielder for the Colleyville Baseball Association’s 12U Boomsticks, asks himself a question every time he walks into the batting box: What would Bobby do?
“Basically, don’t give up,” Jack said, “even if you’re late.”
It’s a lesson Jack learned first-hand from his favorite player, even before he became his favorite player.
In 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, there was a silent auction at the Good Shepherd Catholic Community in Colleyville. Colleyville Heritage signature cleats and one of Witt’s wooden bats from his high school days were up for grabs. Kathy Bachman and her husband, Ryan, are baseball fans and had heard that Witt was going to be the next big thing someday. They thought it would be a great gift for their son, Jack, so they made an offer. And when they learned they might have been outbid, they made another offer.
They won, and Jack had a new favorite player – someone the family had watched and followed through the miners until now.
“It’s just nice to see a kid like that succeed,” Kathy said, “and it’s fun to see him succeed.”
On Tuesday, Jack and Ryan can watch Witt in person. They are seated behind the third base dugout. Jack brings his new No. 7 Witt Jr. City Connect jersey in the hope that his favorite player will sign it too. Kathy had to call the Kansas City Royals team store directly and ask if they could ship one to their home in Keller.
Witt Jr. jerseys have been hard to come by. They are not yet available on the official MLB store, however, as McDougal has seen in person, there is a lot of demand for them.
And on Wednesday, there are expected to be plenty of folks from Colleyville at Globe Life Field to watch Witt play – a group of people who knew of his eminent stardom before his jerseys flew from the racks of a MLB stadium.
Here’s a look at Witt Jr.’s numbers compared to other rookie hitters with at least 50 at bat through Sunday, May 8.
Batting average; Rank; HR; Rank; RBI; Rank; SB; Rank; OPS; Rank .231; 7th; 1; T-9e; 7; T-7e; 4; 2nd; .604; 10th
On Twitter: @JoeJHoyt
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