Toronto, Canada-Where Hops Legends Are Born
Andy Yerzy is a name Hops fans have come to know and love over the years. He holds every offensive Hops record and has been a part of some historic Hops moments, including a playoff walk-off home run and being a part of the 2019 Northwest League Championship team.
His accomplishments with the Hops are some that fans will always remember. But before Yerzy became a Hillsboro Hops legend, he was just a baseball-loving kid growing up in Canada.
Growing up in North York, Ontario-a district just outside of downtown Toronto-Yerzy was immersed in the culture, the food, the sights and sounds that the city has to offer. He did not however, fall into the traditional hockey stereotype that we all might think of.
Baseball, on the other hand, was a different story.
Yerzy's dad was raised in Montreal and grew up a huge Expos fan. When his dad and mom met and they moved to Toronto, his family had season tickets for the Blue Jays which really made him fall in love with the game even more.
"Obviously the most popular sport in Canada is hockey. I never really got into it," he said. "I'd go to a lot of Blue Jays games and loved watching and that's where I fell in love with it."
Yerzy began playing travel ball and quickly started seeing success. He had the opportunity to play for Team Canada at the age of just 15, giving him quite the competitive advantage as he was able to log nearly 400 professional at-bats before officially going pro.
Since signing with the D-backs at age 17 Yerzy has made a name for himself, especially with the Hops organization. But as even he knows it-there are ups and downs throughout this process.
In his first season with the Hops in 2018 he put up some pretty decent numbers averaging .297 with 8 home runs and 34 RBIs. He even went on to be named a NWL All-Star. Given the success he had, Yerzy moved up to the then long-season affiliate in Kane County for the start of their 2019 season.
"Kane County was super rough. Probably the worst baseball I've ever played in my life," he said. "But that was kind of the turning point for me when I got sent back [to Hillsboro.]"
Yerzy found himself back with the Hops to start off their season in 2019 and he's brought that refreshed mindset with him this year too.
That 2019 season was historic for a lot of reasons. Not only did the Hops win the championship, but it would be the last time Yerzy and every other minor leaguer played a professional game for a whole year.
Now that baseball is back and Yerzy has returned with the Hops for another season, his focus and dedication to getting better are stronger than ever. As someone who has been in the minor league system for a few years, many of the guys in the clubhouse look up to him-and he is eager to help.
"You find a different reason to show up to the ballpark every day," he said. "It changes from trying to hit this or do that to just doing what you can to help the team."
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