It was the moment Tyler O’Neill has long dreamt about — making his Major League debut — and it became a reality over the weekend.
“Surreal moment. I will never forget my first time at Wrigley (Field),” O’Neill said via direct message on Twitter on Saturday night.
“Even though the results didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped and expected, getting experience is the most important part.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) April 20, 2018
He was referring to striking out as a pinch-hitter in his first career at-bat.
“I’ve been waiting my whole life to get to this point,” O’Neill said.
O’Neill was called up to the majors last week by the St. Louis Cardinals for the final game of their series in Chicago against the Cubs before the team hosted the Cincinnati Reds.
The 22-year-old is hitless in five at-bats but did drive in a run with a sacrifice fly on Sunday against the Reds in his first career start.
O’Neill — who is from Maple Ridge and played with the Langley Blaze Premier (18U) program — was drafted by the Seattle Mariners. The Cardinals acquired the power-hitting outfielder in July.
After starting the season at the Triple-A level with the Memphis Redbirds, O’Neill was leading the Pacific Coast League with 18 RBIs and was tied for the league-lead with six home runs and nine of his 19 hits were for extra-bases.
And it was fellow Canadian Stubby Clapp — the Redbirds’ manager — who informed O’Neill of his promotion.
“It was a moment I will never forget,” O’Neill said about learning of his promotion.
“It’s a lifelong dream come true achieved through perseverance and dedication.”
O’Neill had his parents, family, girlfriend and a large contingent of friends who watched him over the weekend.