The Atlanta Braves made a seemingly ordinary transaction on Saturday morning, but Sean Kazmar Jr.’s story channels a famous baseball movie character.
On Saturday morning, the Atlanta Braves put pitcher Sean Newcomb and outfielder Ender Inciarte on the injured list. Among the corresponding moves was the selection of infielder Sean Kazmar Jr. for the active roster. But that’s only a small part of the story.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan started the thread on Twitter, saying the Braves calling up Kazmar was one the coolest things he’s seen in baseball in a long time.
Sean Kazmar Jr. is a story in perseverance
A baseball player being drafted twice is fairly common, out of high school and then after that if they decided to go college. But Kazmar was drafted three times, originally in the 32nd round by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2002 out of high school, then in the 37th round in 2003 by the Oakland Athletics and finally in the fifth round of the 2004 draft by the San Diego Padres.
Kazmar made it to the big leagues with the Padres in 2008, appearing in 19 games with 46 plate appearances. Now 36 years old, he has not appeared in a major league game since. Between time in the systems of the Padres, the Seattle Mariners, the New York Mets and the Braves, before and after his taste of the big leagues, he has totaled 1,670 minor league games and over 6,000 minor league at-bats. Born in Valdosta, Georgia, he has played for the Braves Triple-A affiliate in Gwinnett since 2013.
If he gets into a game with the Braves, which is a big “if” depending on the status of second baseman Ozzie Albies (calf), Kazmar would have the longest gap between major league appearances in quite some time.
If Kazmar’s story feels like it could be ripped from a movie script, there’s something to that. Crash Davis, famously played by Kevin Coster in Bull Durham, was a minor league journeyman who got one brief shot in the big leagues. Kazmar is on the precipice of his second chance, nearly 13 years after his first.