No matter the circumstances, every ballplayer remembers everything about the moment they got their first major-league hit.
And for Nationals rookie outfielder Brian Goodwin, that milestone came in his third game and sixth at-bat in The Show, an eighth-inning single to right field off reliever Zach McAllister in Wednesday's 7-4 win over the Cleveland Indians.
As is the custom, the Indians retrieved the ball and returned it to the Nats so Goodwin would have it as a keepsake. But as the 25-year-old intimated, it sounds like someone else in the family might have first dibs.
"My mom's outside [the clubhouse]," he said while smiling at his locker, "so I assume I won't have [the ball] much longer."
The memento is sure to be cherished, especially because Goodwin’s journey to the big leagues took longer than some expected it to. He was once considered one of the Nats' top prospects after he was selected 34th overall in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft. However, the Rocky Mount, North Carolina native had a few down seasons in the minors and the Arizona Fall League that left some wondering if he'd ever make good on his potential. His first few years as a pro saw him go from being considered MLB.com's No. 52 prospect in 2013 to rarely listed in any baseball publication.
But thanks to a breakout 2016 campaign at Triple-A Syracuse, one in which he's slashed .284/.350/.434 with 11 home runs and 62 RBI, the Nats saw fit to promote him after the the team put Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-day disabled list.
“Brian has a lot of talent,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He’s really gotten it together. He went to Venezuela, I think, last winter, and he’s come a long ways. He had a good year at Triple-A. He’s confident. He can play all three outfield positions. Everybody was so happy for him tonight to get his first hit.”
"I think a lot of [my teammates] were more excited than I was," Goodwin said. "But those guys just rallied around me and supported me and they were positive with me the whole time, everybody was ecstatic."
Goodwin's stay with the big club isn't likely a permanent one, with Zimmerman expected to return soon. But even if that's the case and he eventually returns to Triple-A, he'll always have his experiences of the last week in his back pocket.
"I kind of just been here enjoying the moment," Goodwin said. "Just trying to take it and enjoy every minute as I could...[it] hasn't [sunk in] yet."