The newest member of the elite fraternity of Hawaii-born athletes to reach Major League Baseball, Rays Reliever Kirby Yates is still riding the high of making his MLB debut Saturday.
The 26 year old went 4-up and 4-down with two strikeouts against the Mariners joining Steve Cooke and his big brother Tyler Yates as just the third Garden Isle native to reach the majors.
He also helped put the Yates family in extremely rare company, following Dane and Bronson Sardinha as just the second set of Hawaii-born siblings to reach baseball’s pinnacle.
“it’s one of those moments, it’s just crazy because I watched his career and now he’s going to watch mine. It’s amazing because I know the feelings he’s feeling because I watched him you know. It’s your brother and you love him to death, It’s one of the neatest things I think I’ve ever experienced in life so far in life.” said Kirby.
The elder Tyler, who played 5 MLB seasons with the Mets, Braves, and Pirates from 2004-2009 said “I think I’m more proud of him making it than I was in myself for making it, just because of all the negatives people said about him being undersized.”
Kirby, who is 5’10”, 6 inches shorter than Tyler posted 128 strikeouts in just 86.2 AAA innings over the last two years, and is the first un-drafted Hawaii born ball player since Fred Kuhaulua in 1977 to reach the majors.