A Houston Homecoming: Rendon returns for the World Series with the Nationals
HOUSTON – Anthony Rendon is Houston through and through.
Sitting back in a chair with a plain white t-shirt on, Rendon, less than 24 hours away from playing in his first World Series is going down memory lane. The best memory takes him back to the only game he went to at the Astrodome. Getting a behind the scenes tour, waiting for future Hall of Famers Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell the night they played the Mark McGwire-led Oakland A's.
Rendon grew up in Houston, played Little League baseball with the YMCA Post Oak Giants, later pulled on the Lamar High School Redskins jersey (before the mascot was changed to Texans in 2014) and then starred at Rice University until 2011.
"This is my city for sure," Rendon said. "Born and raised. Still live here in the offseason and I don't plan on leaving."
The Nationals, led by their All-Star third baseman and front-runner for the National League MVP, are in their first World Series since moving to Washington, D.C., which for Rendon comes against his hometown Houston Astros.
The seven-year veteran will run out of the dugout inside Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night for Game 1 of the World Series, for which Rendon can't give an accurate count of how many family members and friends will be in attendance for.
"Lot of memories here," Rendon said. "In high school we played here, played here in college and fortunate to play here at this level too. So, probably all those memories will come hit me at once or hopefully they'll hit me while we're taking batting practice tonight. Maybe we'll get it out of the way."
Rendon graduated from Lamar High School in 2008 and was drafted in the 27th round of that year's draft by the Atlanta Braves. Rendon decided to bypass going to the majors and head to Rice University. In 2011, Rendon was taken with the No. 6 overall pick by the Washington Nationals.
Happy homecoming! @Anthonyrendon_6 talks here his fond memories with @BaseballLamar back in 2008. @HISDAthletics @LamarHS @LamarTexansFB @KUBE57 @Nationals pic.twitter.com/tfTDtHHDHe
— Todd Freed (@ToddFreed57) October 21, 2019
When David Munoz settles in to watch Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night, the Lamar baseball coach will stick out.
Munoz, unlike mostly everyone around him, will be donning a Washington Nationals ball cap supporting one of his former players – Anthony Rendon.
"There's a lot of pride going on at this campus right now," Munoz said. "This is the best 'Exhibit A' a coach could hope for. I'm not sure there is anything else I can tell a kid other than a Lamar baseball player can get to the World Series."
Since graduating from Lamar in 2008, Rendon has continued to be present around the campus during the offseason.
"Redskin for life, that's for sure," the Lamar High School alum said with a laugh.
Rendon will come by says hello, signs autographs and answers questions. Munoz said he does everything that you would think might be difficult reaching out to a player that is considered the frontrunner for the National League MVP award this year.
"He hasn't changed," Munoz said. "He's the same kid when he was here. I remember him being a very down-to-earth kid who had athletic ability that was God-given and character that was all him and his family. He was someone that made us proud then and is making us proud now.""They've had a lot of great players come through their system over there. That's a testament to the coaching staffs over the year."
Rendon this year has been one of the driving forces to help lead the Nationals to the World Series.
During the year, Rendon led the majors with 126 RBIs – a new career-high smashing his previous record of 100 set in 2017 – and ranked first in the National League with 44 doubles. Rendon was selected as an All-Star for the first time in his career this past July.
"I think he's an incredible baseball player," Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman said of Rendon. "I think he's one of the top players in all of the game. I think he's the MVP of the National League. He makes it look easy.
"I'm definitely a big fan of his game. He's so fun to watch. I watched all his at-bats in the postseason. He's the epitome of a superstar."