CINCINNATI – From the moment he stepped into the Great American Ball Park on Friday, Reds infield prospect Spencer Steer wanted to soak up everything in his major league debut. The night ended with Steer completely drenched in a cold water bowl by his teammates.
A debut doesn’t get much better than this. Steer reached base in all four at-bats, hitting a home run for his first big league hit and scoring the winning run in the bottom of the ninth in Cincinnati’s 3–2 walk-off win over the Rockies.
“I don’t know what to expect from the big leagues. It’s a lifelong dream,” Stair said. “You never know what to expect until you try it. Today I made memories that will last a lifetime.”
The rookie finished the night with a 2-for-2 with two strides. The last Reds player to reach four times in his major league debut was Jay Bruce in 2008. Steer is his 11th player and first Cincinnati player to hit a home run in his debut.
Stair, the organization’s seventh prospect, was acquired on August 2 in a deal that sent starting pitcher Tyler Murre to the Twins. One of his 10 prospects the Reds acquired in a string of trades this summer, he is the first to reach the big leagues and offers a glimmer of hope at the start of the rebuilding process.
In his first at-bat against Colorado lefty Kyle Freeland, Stair went from a 1–2 count to a 10-pitch walk in the second inning.
“What an incredible debut. He put together an incredible at-bat,” said Freeland.
Leading in the bottom of the fifth, Steer crushed a 2-1 Freeland pitch to center field with his first big league hit and home run as the Great American Ballpark fans roared with approval.
“To be honest, I didn’t feel anything. Looking back, I knew I hit it well,” Stair said. “A moment of unconsciousness. That’s what you dream about. I don’t remember much about what actually happened.”
Injured Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who also hit a home run in his first MLB hit, was commenting in the TV booth when Steer hit the home run.
“I didn’t meet [Votto before Friday]Stair said, “They celebrated 15 years in the big leagues and gave him a really cool gift. Nice to meet you. He congratulated me for being called.”
When Steer touched home plate, he pointed to the seat where his family from Southern California was jumping with excitement.
“I heard them,” Steer said. “They were so loud tonight. It was awesome. You had to show them love because you do it for them. It was special. Support me through my life.” All the people who gave me were here tonight. I had to show them my love.”
Steer led off the ninth with a double heading into the right field corner and stole third base on a wild pitch. With runners on second and third base and Colorado using five infielders with one out, Jonathan India hit a chopper in the middle of the infield.
There were no throws to the plate when Steer scored. It was India’s first goodbye hit.
“A great debut,” India said of Steer’s night. “It’s really hard. I’m happy with him. He’s a good boy and he’s going to have a good career. I’m excited for him.”
After the game, teammates TJ Friedl and Graham Ashcraft doused him with the contents of a water cooler as he gave a televised interview on the field.
Reds manager David Bell said, “Even with the most sophisticated players, the first day is still tough.” People, it might tend to move you really fast.
“Then the game started and it was over. I happened to walk out of the parking lot into the stadium with him and from the start everything was calm and in control. He accepted it all. Me. I think the sophisticated approach carried over late enough that you could really see what kind of player he was.”