{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Walker's first hit comes on home stage

Walker gets first hit on home stage

|
PITTSBURGH -- It was incredibly hard to discern what third baseman Neil Walker was ready to categorize as the coolest part of getting his first Major League hit on Sunday -- the fact that it came in front of nearly his entire family and numerous friends, that it happened less than 20 miles from the Gibsonia, Pa., home he grew up in, or that the second person to congratulate him (after first-base coach Perry Hill) was future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols.

Tough, isn't it?

"It's obviously fantastic," Walker said of the sharp single to right off Cardinals reliever Jason Motte in the eighth inning of the Pirates' 6-5 win. "This is a dream come true for me, hopefully one of many. I can kind of relax here and get back in the swing of things and not have to worry about that first one in the background."

With Walker well-recognized as the hometown kid in Pittsburgh, he received a partial standing ovation as he reached first. His dad, Tom, who was a Major League pitcher from 1972-77, was in attendance at PNC Park, along with Walker's mom, two brothers, sisters-in-law and sister. The only one missing from the clan was Don Kelly, Walker's brother-in-law, former teammate and now member of the Detroit Tigers.

"I think I'll give him a free pass," Walker joked when asked about Kelly's absence.

It took Walker, who is three days shy of his 24th birthday, nine at-bats to get that first hit.

"It looks like he's trying to get his feet on the ground timing-wise," manager John Russell said. "We'll continue to see how he progresses, but the good thing is that it doesn't look like he is overly anxious. He's trying to put together some kind of approach."

Walker said he has plans to frame the ball. And though he obviously can't document his brief conversation with Pujols in the same way, Walker's not concerned about forgetting his first exchange with the Cardinals first baseman.

"Albert Pujols said, 'Congratulations, kid. Good luck. One of many,'" Walker recalled. "That was definitely something I'm not going to forget. I didn't feel worthy enough to say a word to him. But that was really neat to be at first base the same time as him."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{}
{}
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español