When the Cubs signed Ben Zobrist, they hoped his postseason resume and veteran leadership would help stabilize a young lineup.
Nobody expected him to turn into Babe Ruth in the process.
With three hits in Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday night in Cleveland, Zobrist became only the second player ever to have three hits in the first game of a World Series in back-to-back seasons.
The other was Ruth, in the 1927 and '28 World Series.
"Unbelievable at-bats, hitting the ball hard all over the place," Kris Bryant said of Zobrist. "He's the toughest guy to pitch to right now. He's been through this before, which is huge.
"He's calm up there. He looks great. That's nice to know that every time he goes to the plate, it's gonna be a pretty good at-bat."
After his three-hit night in Game 1, Zobrist stayed hot in Game 2, collecting two more hits and a walk, including an RBI triple.
The Kansas City Royals acquired Zobrist for the stretch run in 2015, hoping he would help stabilize their lineup. The veteran switch-hitter delivered, posting an .880 OPS in 16 postseason games while leading the Royals to a championship.
Zobrist is trying to win a second straight World Series and has flipped it on at the plate on the biggest stage.
"It's just trying to realize I've been here before," Zobrist. said. "You do whatever you can to slow the moment down. I think when you've succeeded and failed at this point in the season, it loses as much of the nervousness or anxiety involved with it the first time.
"I was [in the World Series] in '08 [with the Rays] for a little bit and I got my feet wet and was able to get I think one hit that series and have some good quality at-bats and that gave me confidence last year that, 'Hey, I've been here before.'
"Yeah, there's a lot of attention right now, but it's the same game and try and slow it down and have a quality at-bat. Don't worry about the result. Take the mindset and it seems to get a little bit easier to slow things down when you have already been there before."
Even though he's been through this before and in his sixth postseason, Zobrist struggled at the start of October, hitting .167 in 10 postseason games entering the World Series, but the Cubs felt he was getting a little unlucky, though his approach and attitude never changed.
Addison Russell took notice and saw how Zobrist continued to have professional at-bats each time up even though things weren't bouncing his way.
Joe Maddon has seen the way the Cubs young players - like Russell or Javy Baez - look up to Zobrist.
"He's such a calming influence because he doesn't get excited," Maddon said. "You watch his at-bats and they are absolutely the same all the time. You look at the ascension like of a Baez or an Addison, I know they're watching him.
"They watch how he's never in trouble at the plate. Two strikes don't bother him. He accepts his walks. I anticipate over the next couple years, you'll see our young guys working those same kind of at-bats."
Zobrist leads by example with his play on the field, but he also is a presence in the clubhouse.
As reporters crammed in the visiting locker room at Progressive Field after Game 2, Zobrist answered question after question about The Legend of Kyle Schwarber.
At one point, he noticed the media contingent surrounding him was blocking a teammate from accessing his locker coming out of the shower.
So Zobrist ushered the media group to take a couple steps back, not even missing a beat while talking more about Schwarber.
It was just a small showing of the way Zobrist impacts the Cubs clubhouse, though he feels he doesn't have to do much.
"All these guys, I mean, I look at Willy [Contreras] over there - his first pitch he ever saw in the Major Leagues, he hit a home run," Zobrist said. "It's like, what am I gonna tell him about handling his nerves?
"He did something I haven't ever seen anybody do. And what Schwarbs is doing. And Javy and Addy. How young these guys, it's in their makeup. It really is.
"The Cubs did their homework getting these guys that have this kind of makeup to be able to perform in this moment and they're doing it."