Slam caps Everidge's emotional offseason
Blast was small catharsis after first baseman's father passed
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The first at-bat of the Cactus League season for Mariners first baseman Tommy Everidge was unlike any plate appearance of his career.
He knew that no matter what happened in the eighth inning of Thursday's game against the Padres at Peoria Stadium, he could not call his dad and talk about it.
His 50-year-old father, Will, passed away on Oct. 18, when both kidneys shut down. His death occurred the day after his son got married.
It has been a tough recovery for the 26-year-old first baseman.
"That is the worst thing I have ever gone through, and I'm still dealing with it," Everidge said. "We weren't expecting him to go. I feel blessed that I got to say goodbye. My dad didn't get to say goodbye to his dad. I think he kind of held out until after the wedding."
Just talking about his dad still puts a lump in Everidge's throat, and the emotions ran rampant again Friday morning when he recounted his eighth-inning at-bat, which came right out of a movie script.
With the bases loaded and a 3-1 count, Everidge hit a towering home run to left-center field.
"It was pretty emotional," Everidge said. "You are always a little nervous until you get out on the field, because you are comfortable out there. It was exciting to play in front of people again, and I just wanted to have a good at-bat.
"My dad was like there with me. I used that to calm myself."
The slam capped a six-run Mariners rally, sealed the win, and meant a lot to Everidge -- and his mom.
2010 Spring Training - Seattle Mariners
News & Features
- Mariners cut Wells, keep Bay to set roster
- Mariners set club spring record with 58 homers
- Final roster decisions coming Sunday
- Worth noting
- Safeco hosting Opening Day viewing party
Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
"I called her and she was all excited," he said.
It has been an emotional camp from the day he reported.
Everidge said he and his dad were, "really, really close," and he thinks about him every day.
"I had a rough time coming here, because when I was 16, my dad and I drove here [from Sonoma, Calif.,] for a youth tournament. We played on these fields," Everidge said. "It was weird, but when I drove into the parking lot, I remembered what it was like 12 years ago. There was something like two hotels and a restaurant, something like that."
Everidge grew up to become a hefty 6-foot, 275-pounder, graduating from Sonoma High. He attended Sonoma State University before being selected by the Athletics in the 10th round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft.
It took him five-plus seasons in the Minor Leagues to reach the big leagues, arriving on June 9 last season. His first hit was a single off Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon and his first home run came off Royals closer Joakim Soria.
After batting .224 (19-for-85) with two home runs and seven RBIs, he was sent back to Triple-A Sacramento and finished the season with the River Cats.
"My dad got to see me play in the Majors, and that's cool," Everidge said. "My parents came to a lot of the games in Sacramento, and Oakland was even better. It was a short drive, and I feel thankful that he had an opportunity to see me in a big league uniform."
The Athletics finished Everidge's career in Oakland by putting him on waivers. The Mariners claimed him on Jan. 5, added him to their 40-man roster, and 24 days later, they took him off the 40-man to make room for veteran outfielder Eric Byrnes.
Everidge cleared waivers and signed a Minor League contract, which included an invitation to his first Major League camp.
"Things happen," Everidge said. "I was pretty fortunate to get to stay [with Seattle]. It's a business, and that's how things work. There are no bad feelings. I enjoy the guys and the coaching staff here.
"I want to play as well as I can and take advantage of the opportunity."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.