In Episode 9 of “talking with the stars” brought to you by Sportswinmore’s Journalist Mike Rodriguez. @mikerodriguez talk to Venezuelan Catcher for the Mets @wilsonramosc40 about his career in the Majors and growing up in Venezuela. He talks about his three- no-hitter and holding the league record in history with 23 strikeouts. He also goes on to talk about the time he was kidnapped in Venezuela and speaks on the social injustice that is going on in the world today.
Where were you born?
"I was born Venezuela in Valencia, that is where I was raised and my mother worked and got us by and it was hard, but we came together as a family, and we succeed."
How did you learn baseball?
"Baseball in my family is in the blood, it is on my mom side. I have an uncle that played AAA, and we are still in the baseball world. My mom worked as a security guard at an arena and always brought us around the game. This was something that grew on us as a family and it was a very beautiful thing."
What age did you start playing baseball?
"Well at the age of five, I started playing baseball with me and my brother. At that age, camps opened up for us, and we played close near my grandma's house which was our first team."
How was the economic household in your family?
"Well look, it was very difficult, we lived in a very tough family, my parents divorced, and I stayed with my mom, and she had several jobs that got us by. We definitely had it hard, but with hard work, we got by. By the age of 10, me and my brother would do car washes and even cut my hair. In the back of my house, I used to grab birds and sell them on the streets. At a very young age, we were in the streets working and everyone thought being in the streets was a bad thing, but we were there working just trying to put bread on the table. My mom definitely raised us right."
What was your first experience when getting signed?
"It was a moment very special for my family, I was working really hard and the process trying to find a team was very hard, I didn’t have a ride to events so it became difficult to be noticed. But, It all turned out well I was blessed to get signed, and when I did signed I fixed up my mom's house I lived with seven people, and they were only two rooms. I was not like other ballplayers I did not buy a car I just wanted to give a roof over my mom's heads and seeing her happy really brought me joy."
When did you sign?
"I signed in 2004 it was too late to send me to the summer league it was already half-way through the season. I stayed in Venezuela and I played in a league over here and then in 2005, I went to the Dominican Republic to play there. It was my first time even leaving my country leaving my family and starting to learn how to live by my self, but in reality, everything went well I enjoyed my self even though I missed my family I knew I had to sacrifice my self and it was a beautiful experience."
When did you get to the United States for the minors?
"Coming to the United States was very hard for me I didn't know the language and was fortunate to learn a little but it was very difficult I only knew the basics. I focused on my self to play the ball and to learn English it was a very difficult process for me being a catcher I had to talk to pitchers and managers. There came a moment where they called me into the office and said if you are a catcher you need to learn the language if I played a different position it would have been easier, but being as a catcher I had to do it to succeed."
How many years did you last in the minors?
"I played 5 seasons in the minors and I kept getting moved up. In 2010, I got called up to the major it was very different from getting signed. In the begging of spring training, I thought I made it to the majors and I had a very good year, and then they called me in the office and told they were going to send me back down to the AAA, I was upset, and I was not playing good in AAA and I got into an argument with the manager and at the end of the day I knew I did not do the right thing and I even did not pick up my manager phone call. I finally picked up, and he said bring your jersey into the office, and I was very scared of what he was going to say, so he said Wilson I just wanted to give you the news that the organization made the decision that you are not ready to play for this team. So, I expected, I was going to go home and I said what do you mean what's the next step, and he goes back up your bags you're going to the big league your flight leaves today. At that point, I grabbed my stuff, went to the airport, and went to Cleveland and I played that day. I got to the stadium to take pictures, went inside the clubhouse, saw my name on the back of the jersey and it was a dream come true."
How was your first game?
"Look I got three hits and a double and it was a huge game for me and in this business, everyone remembers their stats I get to the clubhouse and reporters are asking me questions that I was doing a great job that no one has ever allowed 4 hits against the twins. Every time they bring up numbers that you really don’t really know because it is not what you are thinking about. I knew when my pitcher had 20 strikeouts, I knew the record was 21 and then after the game reporters ask me your pitcher tied the record how does it feel and I Never knew at the time but if I did now I would’ve asked him to throw the ball in the dirt, so we would be able to get 22 strikeouts."
What was your favorite memory that you would not change?
"My debut and also having three no-hitter and 21 strikeouts. I can’t just say one memory because my career has been very special to me. I would not expect this, and I am very grateful."
What happens when you were kidnapped?
"It was hard and a traject when something happens to you like that. I knew something was going to happen the way I value life now is special. I was held captive and thought I was going to die and will never see my family again but thank you to god I got out of it and that moment so horrible. But now I lei m life to the fullest with no regrets because you never know when your time is coming. I always tell my family to enjoy your life every day."
What do you think about the social injustice going on?
"It is very difficult how people can live with that feeling. We are all brother, I have a lot of friends color, and all of us are treated equally with care, and we are family, no one should be above anyone. For me I will live my life the same I don’t see color I never understood racism and will never get it. It is very sad and disappointing for me everyone the same if you treat me well I will always treat you with the same respect. My whole family disagrees with everything going on and change must happen."
Check out the interview down below
Sports Journalist for SPORTSWINMORE