Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham was one of the best stories in baseball in 2017. But, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the player within the organization.
Pham was demoted to Triple-A by St. Louis to start 2017 despite his versatility, MLB games accrued (he’d appeared in over 130 games in the past two seasons) and the Cardinals having a generally weak outfield. He recounted not being thrilled about it as he told Jack Dickey of Sports Illustrated.
“We’re two weeks in, and I’m raking,” he says. “I’m hitting like .400. The big league team was 3–9, and all three outfielders were hitting .200.
And I’m still balling! So finally I said, They’re not gonna f——-’ call me up, f—- it, and I zoned out in Triple A. Every day I was just like, F—- this. I’ve made it to the big leagues, f—- it.”
Eventually, the Cardinals realized Pham was more than a Triple-A player and gave him a call-up. He proceeded to rake.
Pham finished 11th in MVP voting in 2017. Despite playing just 128 games, the 30-year-old hit 23 home runs, drove in 73, stole 25 bases, while hitting .306 with a .411 on-base percentage.
Even though he had a late start to full-time regular duty in the MLB, Pham is here to stay. He clearly remains motivated and won’t soon forget the Cardinals passing on him – even temporarily. Thankfully, they smartened up and he’s now one of their best – if not the best – hitter in the organization.
Lesson learned Cards, don’t bet against Pham.