After 10 Seasons In Minors, 31-Year-Old Wynton Bernard Finally Makes MLB Debut

Baseball Player Wynton Bernard had spent the last decade playing minor league ball. Friday, he finally made his MLB debut.

The Colorado Rockies announced that they were calling Bernard up from the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes. Bernard called his mom to let her know the big news, and if this doesn’t make you just a little misty, then you’d probably fail the Voight-Kampff test.

MLB.com reported that Bernard had played in 863 minor league games before appearing in his first Major League game, a 5-3 Rockies win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The centerfielder went 1-for-3 with a groundout, a strikeout, and a single (he was initially ruled out, but was deemed safe upon review). Once on base, Bernard stole second and eventually scored on a José Iglesias sacrifice fly.

Bernard’s journey to the big leagues is not the kind you see very often. Bernard went to Niagara University, and after being drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 35th round of the 2012 MLB June Amateur, he embarked on his globe-trotting professional career.

In 2013, Bernard took the field for teams at several different levels of Single-A and rookie ball and was playing for the Double-A Erie SeaWolves. To get more playing time in the winters, Bernard had to have his passport handy.

Colorado Rockies centerfielder Wynton Bernard
Colorado Rockies centerfielder Wynton Bernard takes a cut during his MLB debut. Bernard spent a decade in the minors for being called up to the Show. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Bernard spent a lot of time playing internationally

Bernard spent the 2015-16 winter ball season playing in Venezuela. It was the first of six different international stints. In addition to a couple of seasons in Venezuela, Bernard also played in Australia, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.

While Bernard was grinding away, he took inspiration from his family. His father suffered a stroke while he was in college, and his mother cared for him until he passed away.

Bernard pays tribute to his family — including his late father who taught him the game — with their pictures on the bottom of his bats.

Bernard’s perseverance and dedication to making his dream a reality is nothing short of inspiring.

“I never had the thought of not making it,” he said. “I just tried to focus on the positives, and that’s what kept me through.”

Of course, it wasn’t always easy.

“I felt some sort of resentment for baseball, for a full year,” Bernard explained. “Then I said, ‘No, that’s not the way my dad would have wanted this. He wants me to live my dream.’ The last time I saw him, he was crying … and now I think he would be OK with me making the Major Leagues today.”

How could you not root for someone Wynton Bernard?

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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