Dodgers outfielder A.J. Pollock wasn’t sure he would get the chance to play baseball at all this season, let alone become a World Series champion.
“We’re going to look back on this year because it was crazy, it was amazing, it was all of the above,” said Pollock, who graduated from RHAM High School in 2006.
Fulfilling a lifelong dream is a small prize compared to the moment he experienced after the game. Pollock held his daughter in his arms on the field just months after she was born three months premature, weighing a little more than one pound.
“The odds were pretty stacked against us that she had a lot of challenges she had to meet,” said Pollock.
Shortly after his daughter Maddi was born in March, Pollock had his own battle with COVID-19. Once he was clear of the virus, he made the tough decision to participate in the Major League Baseball’s shortened season. The season was filled with many challenges for A.J. and his wife Kate but it ended better than they could have ever imagined.
“We both just shared a moment when we won the World Series,” said Pollock. “She was crying, I was tearing up. It was a lot. It’s a lot that happened.”
Tuesday’s celebration was made extra special by a reunion with Pollock’s parents.
“When we won it, they were able to come up to the front row and that’s how they met their granddaughter for the first time,” said Pollock.
It’s wasn’t long ago that same family was on the youth fields of Connecticut.
“You know what, I don’t think I’ve ever met a World Series champion let alone had one in my program,” said longtime RHAM baseball head coach Paul Steiner.
Pollock was the Gatorade player of the year in Connecticut during his senior year and led RHAM to its first and only baseball state championship in 2004.
“It’s incredible to look back and think where I’ve come from, where my roots are and the people that have helped me along the way,” said Pollock.
“He just wanted to get better every single day,” added Steiner. “When things were done, he just kept on working.”
Even on baseball’s biggest stage, Pollock was thinking about where it all started.
“I’ve played a bunch of years in the big leagues and I don’t really have these flashbacks and stuff but in the World Series, I did. I kept having flashbacks of me playing at West Road Field on the RHAM team,” said Pollock. “It’s a special place. They’ve got special people that are always checking in with me, always in my corner.”
“I always tell him, you’re an outstanding young man who just happens to be good at baseball, that’s all,” said Steiner. “Obviously I’m so proud and I’m so happy for him.”
Pollock plans to return to his hometown and share the joy of his accomplishment with those who watched him from the beginning.
“Now I’m going to have a World Series ring and it’s just very special,” said Pollock. “I’ll be able to go back there and show people and share my story.”