Minnesota Twins rookie Andrew Albers is a really good dude.
Instead of heading down south and spending his offseason vacationing in parts much warmer like many of his contemporaries, he went back to his native Saskatchewan to be a substitute teacher at his alma mater high school, John Paul II Collegiate.
It all started four seasons ago as a way to make ends meet in the offseason while he was a struggling minor league ballplayer. Albers fortunes eventually changed, but his determination to give back did not. Last season, Albers made his major league debut, pitching 8 1/3 scoreless innings in his very first start. In his second? A complete-game shutout. He didn’t forget the people that got him there, either.
Going back to his roots and helping his community are not only important, but very enjoyable for him.
“The community has been behind me the whole way, and it’s nice to be able to come back and be a part of that community. And it’s been really nice to run into people who say, ‘Hey, we haven’t watched baseball for the last 20 years, but we watched your games this year.”
Not only is Albers a substitute teacher, he’s also a volunteer coach for two of the school’s basketball teams and likes to push his players.
“He likes to make us run,” student Jacob Stynsky said. “Like, hard. He likes to make us out work other teams … And to never give up, never to stop no matter how much we’re down. He always wants us to keep pushing, keep improving.”
Makes sense, considering Albers personal journey to the big leagues was no easy task, either. He was drafted in the 10th round in the 2008 draft by the Padres and made five appearances with their Rookie League affiliate before requiring Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL. The Padres released him and he spent the next year rehabbing.
Determined that he was, Albers then got into his car and drove across the entire country, trying out for three teams. One of them, the Twins, saw what they liked and signed him to a deal. The rest his history.
The world needs more players like Andrew Albers. Good on you, Andrew.