Gammons: Colabello took road less travelled to MLB dream


Peter Gammons is a Hall of Fame baseball writer. His career has taken him through stints with the Boston Globe, ESPN and MLB Network. When Gammons writes, baseball fans read.

Today, Gammons wrote a feature column for his website on Minnesota Twins first baseman/outfielder/designated hitter Chris Colabello.

Colabello is 30-years-old and he's playing in only his second season of big league ball. Breaking into MLB took him longer than most, and his production after punching his ticket has already been more successful than most minor-league journeymen.

But at the end of each Colabello, or the next morning, Colabello isn't marveling at himself and his shiny box scores. He took the road less travelled to reach baseball's best league, and that road has humbled him.

“We bus from the park to the airport. We fly charters and stewardesses ask us if they can get us anything, like food," Colabello explained to Gammons. "I’m playing with Joe Mauer. I get to talk hitting with Jason Kubel.”

The road Colabello has followed has gone all over the map. It started when he was a kid, watching his father pitch in an Italian baseball league. He then small college baseball for the Mill City All-Americans, which led him to nine years in the Independent League where played in Canada for the Worcester Tornadoes.

Colabello is hitting .308 with three home runs and 27 RBI. Jose Abreu of the White Sox is the only player in the American League whose driven in more runs (31). Colabello also is tied for second in the league with nine doubles – one behind league leader and teammate Trevor Plouffe.

His 27 RBI this month broke a 20-year-old record held by Kirby Puckett for most RBI in April by a Twin, according to WCCO.

“Pretty impressive,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, “He’s got his name sitting next to one of the best players I ever saw. That’s a pretty cool thing. You tip your hat to him. That’s pretty special.”

But Colabello remains focused. He's not concerned with his blossoming statistics. He's simply going to the ballpark, doing what he loves.

“I try not to think about all that’s happened because I don’t want to get caught up in it,” he added. “I just try to think about helping the Twins win each day. That’s what baseball is. That’s what I love.”

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