Twelve years after strutting Boulder’s Digger Daws Oval in front of 200 people, WA baseball star Liam Hendriks’ career came full circle yesterday with a history-making appearance at New York’s Yankee Stadium.
The right-handed pitcher became the first Australian to start a play-off game when he opened for the Oakland Athletics against the Yankees in a must-win American League wildcard clash.
But it was tough going, with Hendriks lasting an inning after giving up a two-run homer to New York slugger Aaron Judge.
He also walked a batter, with one strikeout as the Yankees went on to win 7-2.
Perth-born Hendriks, 29, started playing T-ball aged five. After graduating through baseball’s junior ranks, Hendriks was signed by the Minnesota Twins on his 18th birthday.
He has appeared in the major leagues with Minnesota, Toronto, Kansas City and Oakland.
In November, 2006, Hendriks was among a young Perth Heat pitching staff that visited Kalgoorlie-Boulder to face South Australia.
The match at Digger Daws Oval was the second leg of a special nine-game series, dubbed the Barbagallo Challenge, between national baseball’s three traditional rivals, the Heat, South Australia and Victoria.
Hendriks’ father Geoff played in the WA Football League with West Perth in the 1970s and 80s and was a member of the 1975 premiership team.