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Who is Leury García?

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You’ve heard of #LeuryLegend, but have you heard the Legend of Leury?

New York Yankees v Chicago White Sox
Leury García, photo, c. 1919.
Photostat image: Ron Vesely/Gettye Images

March 18, 1991.

It was a dark and stormy night. The moon was a waning crescent, though it was barely visible through the dense fog that had descended upon Santiago. A woman was in her 28th hour of labor at the local hospital. The baby boy would be a Pisces.

“Almost there,” the midwife assured the woman while her husband held her hand.

And that’s when the earth began to quiver. Why the hospital was built directly on top of the Septentrional Fault line will never be understood, as the lawsuit that would later be filed against the zoning board was dismissed under mysterious circumstances. Trying not to panic, the labor and delivery staff did everything they could to save the baby. Using the jaws of life they yanked the baby out safely. But it was too late for the baby’s parents, who were slipping into the giant crack in the earth’s crust that had emerged within a matter of minutes. “Se llamó Leury” the mother whispered right before falling to her molten death. His name is Leury.

Feeling sorry for baby Leury, orphaned at birth, a midwife swaddled him up and took him to her synagogue where all 28 Jews residing in the Dominican Republic worshipped.

“Will anyone adopt the boy?” the midwife asked, raising him before the congregation like a Jewish Simba.

“I will,” said a man, and he grabbed the boy in his arms and drove off to his home where baby Leury would begin his new life.

The first three years were a child’s dream. You see, dear reader, the man who adopted Leury was a zookeeper at the Parque Zoólogico Nacional in Santo Domingo. His specialty was working with the lions. The man brought little Leury to work every day, to play with and feed the animals. But unfortunately for Leury, these days were cut short by yet another tragedy.

That summer, a visiting opera troupe from Austria was making its way through the Central American circuit. Why the troupe was hosted by the National Zoo, and why its performances took place in front of the colossal glass aquarium will never be understood, as the lawsuit that would later be filed against the zoological society was dismissed under mysterious circumstances. But when the fat lady hit her highest note that fateful day, the aquarium shattered, sending a million shards of glass into the audience, killing Leury’s father.

Grief-stricken, little Leury sought comfort with the only family he ever knew. He waddled into the lion habitat, curled up next to a cub of his same age, and swiftly cried himself to sleep.

For the next 10 years Leury tended to the lions as the new zookeeper, but also lived among them as their equal.

For his 13th birthday, a very important birthday for young Jews like Leury, the staff at the zoo pooled their money together to send Leury to a baseball game. Though Leury had no idea what baseball was, he was very appreciative of the gift and went off to the game willingly. Little did he know, that would be the last time he ever saw his lion family again.

Leury was enamored with the game of baseball from the first pitch. A sharp boy, he chatted with the other fans around him and quickly learned all the rules of the game. But once again, disaster struck. And this time, it came for Leury himself.

You see, during the seventh inning stretch, a nearby train derailed and drove straight through the ballpark, killing dozens and maiming hundreds. Why the train went off-track will never be understood, as the lawsuit that would later be filed against the department of transportation was dismissed under mysterious circumstances. But as a result, Leury was airlifted out of the ballpark in a hot-air balloon and taken to a hospital in Santiago, where he underwent a life-saving operation.

By now, dear reader, you may have guessed that the hospital Leury was airlifted to in Santiago was the very same hospital where he was born. And you would be right — though this time the hospital was constructed next to the fault line, rather than on top of it.

Leury was in a coma for 28 days. When he awoke, he could not remember his name. Instead, he told the nurses his name was “Leo,” a subconscious product of hearing the word over and over again though not consciously remembering a thing about the first 13 years of his life. In fact, the only memory he had was of being at the baseball game.

The hospital staff checked their records for any possibly match for Leo. Shockingly, they found a hit. Leo’s birth name was Leury García. But even more shocking, the hospital staff informed Leury that his biological father had survived the earthquake that killed his mother after all, and was living in Santiago, working as a high school baseball coach.

“Son,” the father said, “I’ve been looking absolutely nowhere for you. But I am glad you have returned to me. This baseball team I coach, they are real good. They can make it to the High School World Series. But we need a utility depth piece. Son, will you be our utility depth piece?”

“Yes,” Leury said through choked-back tears at the serendipitous opportunity. “All I want to do is play baseball.”

Leury became a solidly mediocre utility depth piece, and through his unparalleled grit he helped his father’s team clinch the High School World Series. In the championship game he went 4-for-4, hitting for the cycle and making the defensive play of the game, which consisted of him running into the bleachers to catch what would have been a walk-off home run. Leury played every position on the field except catcher and first base in that series.

Little did Leury know, MLB scouts were at this game, and had their eye on him. A few days later, he received a call that would change his life forever: “We would like you to come to the United States and play baseball for the Texas Rangers.”

Never mind that he was only 13, for in the Jewish tradition, Leury was now a man.

Leury was stunned. Playing Major League Baseball in the U.S. was his life’s dream ever since he woke up from his coma, just two months earlier. But Leury had a hard choice to make. You see, young Leury had fallen in love.

As a man of principle and virtue, Leury decided to put his major league dreams on hold until the young couple was old enough to get married and move to the U.S..

But once again, tragedy struck.

The plane that brought Leury and his new spouse from the Dominican Republic to Texas exploded mid-air, killing everyone but Leury. Why the plane spontaneously combusted will never be understood, as the lawsuit that would later be filed against the airlines was dismissed under mysterious circumstances.

Alas, it is no surprise that in his major league debut, young, orphaned, widowed Leury did not do so well, striking out in his first-ever at-bat. Disgusted with his performance and unwilling to give him another chance, Texas traded Leury to the Chicago White Sox.

Leury was not slated to make the Opening Day roster in 2014, but due an injury to Gordon Beckham’s left testicle, Leury filled in, and the rest was history.

In coming to the Chicago White Sox, Leury felt he found his forever home. And the front office felt the same. In fact, in 2015 Jerry Reinsdorf officially adopted Leury García as his son. In 2021, Tony La Russa made Leury his 7th horcrux, sealing his fate on the White Sox roster forever.

You see, dear readers, the moral of the story is that for all his faults, Leury García IS the White Sox. He is currently the longest-tenured player on the team. In 2021 games where Leury Garcia starts, the White Sox have a .647 win percentage. His right pinky toe is buried underneath right field. The secret lies with Leury; he is the glue that keeps the whole White Sox organization together.

And so goes the Legend of Leury, a tale as old as time.