Every day, Jose Abreu talks with Daysi Correa. She is why he's here. When he was thinking of defecting from Cuba – of leaving behind the only place he'd ever known, the only people who mattered to him, for the glory and riches of Major League Baseball – his mother offered her blessing. Go, she said. Chase your dream.
"It's not my dream," Abreu says today. "It's my family's."
Before Abreu defected, he told his mother to pick his jersey number. She chose 79, a number believed to have been worn just twice before in major league history. Every time Abreu looks at his jersey, he says, "She's always near me."
— Jeff Passan