For Oakland A's catcher Stephen Vogt, Friday night could not have been any more special. Playing in his 21st game at the big league level, Vogt finally — and I do mean finally — got the monkey off his back by collecting his first major league hit — a line drive home run to the right-field seats.
The big moment happened in the fourth inning of the A's 6-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. It snapped an 0-for-32 stretch to begin his major league career, which is one at-bat shy of the longest hitless streak by a non-pitcher since 1973.
The first 25 at-bats came during an 18-game stretch with the Tampa Bay Rays last season where he served almost exclusively as a pinch-hitter. The now 29-year-old backstop was then traded to Oakland during the offseason and recalled on June 25 when the A's needed a catcher to spell a hurting John Jaso and a slumping Derek Norris. Friday night marked his third start in four days for manager Bob Melvin's club, and maybe it was those consistent at-bats that finally allowed him to get comfortable against big league pitching.
Or maybe it was just time.
Whatever the case was, he got every bit of Joe Kelly's pitch, and seemed to enjoy every second of his trip around the bases. It was a very cool moment, and then several of his A's teammates made it even better by giving him the silent treatment in the dugout.
If there was ever a time for the silent treatment, a guy snapping an 0-for-32 lifetime slump with a homer is certainly it. And for Vogt, it couldn't have been a more welcomed scene because it meant acceptance with his new team and it signified that a weight had truly been lifted off his shoulders.
"It's the greatest thing in the world getting the silent treatment," Vogt said. "It's neat to have this team kind of adopt me within three days. They've been treating me really well and it's been really special."
As for his first hit being a home run:
"I would've taken a swinging bunt all the same," Vogt said, but he added of having the first hit be a home run: "Can't imagine anything better."
Great attitude, cool story and an awesome moment for Vogt. Here's hoping it's just the first of several.
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