CHICAGO — Gilbert Redman often makes bold vows about his beloved White Sox on Twitter, like saying he’ll “eat my hat” if a starting pitcher makes it through seven innings.
He’s never had to make good on his tweets — until now.
Redman was watching the Game 3 on his couch in Logan Square Sunday night and feeling “down in the dumps” as the Houston Astros jumped to an early lead that could’ve ended his team’s season. All Redman could do was hope, chug his beer and send a bold proposition into the Twitter universe: “if leury hits a homer here, i’ll get a tattoo in his honor.”
Leury García, a longtime White Sox and oft-underappreciated utility man, stepped up to the plate and promptly blasted a no-doubt home run to dead center, putting the White Sox up 6-5 in Game 3 of the American League Division Series. The team wouldn’t look back and went on to pull out a thrilling 12-6 win.
Redman knew what he had to do next.
“Leury came up for me, so I felt the need to show up for him,” Redman said. “So the least I can do is be a man of my word and follow through with my bet. I don’t want any bad karma floating around.”
White Sox fans blew up Redman’s tweet and egged him on, but he didn’t need much more convincing. He got the “García tattoo” — also fashioned with his number 28, the date of his home run and his nickname “Legend” — inked on his right thigh Monday.
“I’ve got no regrets,” said Redman, who is a teaching assistant at Simeon. “I’m big on memories and commemorating events in my life. And this definitely a significant event — and I’m glad to have it on me for the rest of my life.”
Redman said he’s “fast and loose” with his tattoos and considers his body to be like a “cool T-shirt.” He has a Pokémon underneath his armpit and multiple inked homages to local Chicago band Knuckle Puck. In a stroke of good fortune, García’s “28” just so happens to be Redman’s girlfriend’s favorite number.
“And If everyone ever challenges me on my White Sox fandom, I have proof that I’m a do-or-die fan,” Redman said. “And I guess Leury García is forever a part of who I am now.”
García, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, was already somewhat of a “running bit” with Redman and his friends. Redman was in attendance in Pittsburgh earlier this summer when García hit a home run — one of only five he dinged throughout the entire season.
What García lacks in star power he makes up for with charm, hustle and heart. The long-time White Sox “glue guy” has played almost every position on the field and seems to have a knack for making a winning play.
“Every good story has that guy that shows up. That guy that normally isn’t in those big moments that shows up and brings that X-factor,” Redman said. “Leury is definitely that guy that does whatever is asked of him.”
Redman did what was asked of him, as well. As the Sox head into Game 4 Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field, he’s glad to be a part of the moment — even with its permanent ramifications.
“I have to take up that mantle that’s like the mascot of White Sox fandom right now. And I’m happy to do it,” Redman said. “I think South Siders are very resilient.”
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