Fall 2021 SS Magazine

White Sox rookie Yermín Mercedes giving thanks to God after historic start to season

White Sox catcher Yermín Mercedes played 617 games and recorded 2,128 at-bats in the minor leagues before manager Tony La Russa put him on the major-league roster as a third option behind the plate this season. Mercedes had appeared in just one MLB game.

It doesn’t appear he will be headed back to the minors any time soon. In his first start, Mercedes went 5 for 5 and drove in four runs in the team’s 12-8 win over the Angels on Friday.

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“I just want to cry every time when I see I’m in the majors right now,” the 28-year-old said after his five-hit performance. “I just want to cry because it’s a long time. I’ve got a big history.”

Back in the lineup on Saturday, Mercedes hit his first major-league home run in his sixth at-bat of the season:

Mercedes followed up the home run with two more hits, making him the first player in the modern era to begin a season 8 for 8.

The streak came to an end with Mercedes’ final at-bat Saturday, and he collected only one hit on Sunday, but through three games, he’s hitting .643 with a home run, two doubles, six RBIs and 14 total bases. Even La Russa struggled to find something to compare it to.

“I was just thinking there isn’t anything that comes close,” he said Saturday. “I think he was upset when he made the out. And it’s clutch. That’s the thing, it’s not just for show. He’s putting us in a great position to win. Won one yesterday and put us in a position to win today. Take my hat off to him, pat him on the back, whatever it takes.”

On Sunday, Mercedes posted a picture of him with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols on Instagram with the caption, “The glory is to God” (translated):

 

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He has given God praise in multiple other posts in the past week as well:

 

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A post shared by La ñapa (@ymercedes73)

The native of the Dominican Republic also shared about the moments of doubt he faced on the way to finally living out his dream.

“I know when it was a couple years ago, I said, ‘What am I going to do? What’s going to happen with me?’ Mercedes revealed after Friday’s game. “I just said, ‘God, when am I going to be in the majors? What do I need to do?’ Because all the time, all my years, I put up my numbers, do the best of myself.”

Looking back now, Mercedes sees how everything played out on God’s time and was leading up to this moment.

“My time is now, the opportunity is now,” Mercedes said in the same press conference. “Just keep working hard, keep the head up, trust in God. Because God knows what is going to happen.”

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