5 feet 8 inches, 151 pounds
Ronald Torreyes aka “Toe” // NY Yankee // Yankee Stadium, South Bronx
Call Ronald Torreyes a pint-sized utilityman, a diminutive infielder, or ‘enano,’ the Spanish term for ‘pipsqueak.’ It doesn’t matter to the New York Yankees’ most diminutive player, who has a big bat at the plate and a big glove in the field.
“Definitely, there were a lot of people who basically told me you’re not gonna make it because you don’t have the height. There were a lot of teams that wouldn’t look at me, that wouldn’t give me a chance.
But my dad was always there for me. He kept encouraging me and said that if I keep training hard, someone would give me an opportunity. He said: ‘Keep working and eventually you'll get the chance to show them you can play.’
My dad played a lot of ball, so baseball is something he knows. He had it in his blood. I guess at a young age he saw something in me. He dedicated himself to my training ever since I was a kid. He said: ‘You have to train, go to school and study. After you graduate, we'll look for an opportunity.’
When I was growing up, we used to train twice a day. In the morning, then I would study, then train again at night. Even on the weekends. He supported me and dedicated himself to it. He was always with me throughout.
I started playing baseball when I was four years old, just at home throwing the ball and taking swings here and there. But the first memory I have of baseball is when I was six years old going out and playing real baseball with my friends in my town in Venezuela.
When I was little, I used to watch baseball games on TV and I can remember asking my dad: ‘Dad, when I am going to play there? When am I going to have the opportunity to be a professional baseball player?’
To me, it was a far away, the chance to be a professional player, but I worked really hard with my dad and now I’m here. I’m in the big leagues
I like the story because it can show kids if you work really hard at what you want to do, you can accomplish it. Nothing is impossible in life when you work for it every day. Young players can look at me and see that if you will it – and you work for it – you can do it.
I would tell kids to never lose faith in themselves and to keep working every day. Talk to your parents who support you for that daily energy. To continue in your sport is healthy – it’s good for your education and your well-being.
Being shorter makes me quicker than the other guys. I'm faster than the bigger players.
It helps me on my defense, especially. I play different positions – second base, third base, shortstop and right field – so speed is an advantage in all those places. On the field, I got used to the advantage of my size, moving around the field quicker. And running around the bases fast is also a good thing.
If I had to say a disadvantage of my size, it would probably be the same thing I encountered early in my career. That people would kind of dismiss me because of my stature. But I’m very, very thankful to the Yankees for giving me the opportunity to play and to show that I can really play this sport.
Being a New York Yankee means so much me. It’s one of the most important things in my life. Being on this team is something I carry in my heart. There have been so many legends that have passed through here, retired or gone. That’s what makes you give everything you have. It’s an extra boost of energy you get just from wearing this uniform. You wear this uniform with honor.
If fans like me, it has to do with the way I work. I come every day and try and do my job and I think they’ve noticed that. Also, they see the relationship we all have here on the team and how we enjoy each other.
There’s a special handshake I have with [outfielder] Aaron Judge. He’s a foot taller than me and 100 pounds heavier than me. He puts his hand up high and I jump up and high-five him. Whenever we have an opportunity to do it, we do it. At the beginning of the game or after a big play. It’s fun. And not only that, it goes to show you, he’s so big and I’m so little and yet at the same time we’re on the same team giving it all we’ve got.”
-Ronald Torreyes aka “Toe”