As Xander Bogaerts and the rest of the Boston Red Sox prepare to step on baseball’s biggest stage, facing the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2018 World Series, the familiar question of Bogaerts’ ethnicity is a hot search topic. Bogaerts is one of only a handful of players in Major League Baseball history to come from his home.
Here’s what you need to know:
He Was Born & Raised in Aruba
Bogaerts hails from the tiny island nation of Aruba. According to Baseball Almanac, that makes him one of only five players born there to crack an MLB lineup. The others are Radhames Dykhoff, Gene Kingsale, Calvin Maduro and Sidney Ponson, none of which is currently active, making Bogaerts the only active Aruban-born player in the major leagues.
According to the Boston Globe, he was first discovered by Red Sox scout Mike Lord in 2009 in the city of San Nicolas. Bogaerts was actually ill with chicken pox at the time of Lord’s visit to Aruba, but his twin brother, Jair, was on hand at the try-out that had been organized. When Lord asked if there was anyone else he should see, he says Jair Bogaerts “didn’t hesitate.”
“He says, ‘I told you, man, my brother is better than me,’ ” says Lord. “A couple of other people poking around said, ‘Yeah, Xander’s the guy,’” the Globe story reads.
The Red Sox signed him as a free agent shortly thereafter.
He Was a Member of the Dutch National Team in International Play
As Aruba is a part of the sovereign Kingdom of the Netherlands, Bogaerts is actually Dutch by nationality. As such, he was able to help the Netherlands win the 2011 Baseball World Cup, the final year of the event. It was the first time since the Baseball World Cup’s inception that a European nation won; Great Britain won the inaugural event in 1938.
“The seeds of Xandermania started in 2011, when Bogaerts was knighted by Aruba’s governor and got his picture on the Wall of Fame after he helped the Netherlands win the International Baseball Federation World Cup. Bogaerts also played third base on the Netherlands team that reached the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic in March 2013,” reported the Boston Globe.
Source: Heavy Sports