There are a lot of touching stories on this World Series champion Astros squad. Jose Altuve galvanized a country, Josh Reddick beat his former team in a stadium that -- well -- doesn't love him, and Justin Verlander won a championship after being traded mid-season from a team that he worked towards this moment with towards the beginning, but just couldn't quite get there. All of that, of course, wrapped around a team playing in a city that has experienced more than its fair share of adversity in 2017. However, Evan Gattis may have the strangest stranger-than-fiction story of them all. The Astros catcher overcame his own demons to play on a championship team, and it's been a long road.
Gattis battled substance abuse and anxiety and, in lieu of college, he was forced to attend rehab. He worked odd jobs, working as a parking valet attendant and a janitor before attending college to play baseball with UT-Permian Basin. In 2010, the Atlanta Braves took a chance on the then 24-year-old Gattis. Gattis wouldn't play professionally until 2013, when the Braves called him up for the first time.
Gattis played two seasons with the Braves before being dealt to the Astros. He played at least 100 games from 2013-2016, and played in 84 in 2017. He also played in 13 games this postseason. He batted .267 in the playoffs, scored five runs, had two RBIs and a homer. In the World Series, he went 3 for 10 and walked a ridiculous five times (a third of his plate appearances). Gattis was a not-insignificant part of a World Series team -- not bad for someone that had to wait to go to college. This win isn't more important to one Astros player than another, but there's no question it means something just a little different to Gattis.
Gattis has always been open about his past. He doesn't seem ashamed. And for good reason. He wouldn't be the same person without those experiences, and he clearly doesn't want to bury them.
He's a different person now, and he's come a long way. It's the reason sports are special. For some people, they offer second chances.