Randy Ruiz’s father always had a dream of buying a nice house. For years and years he worked hard until, finally, he was able to accomplish that dream.
It’s an anecdote that Ruiz, Toronto’s current designated hitter, has carried with him as a source of inspiration.
“In my family, we’re not quitters,” Ruiz said. “When we have our eyes set on something, we don’t stop until we get it.”
While it has taken a while, that has certainly proved true for Ruiz’s career. Over his 11 years in professional baseball, Ruiz, 31, has been almost exclusively a minor leaguer. His only major league experience was 22 games with Minnesota last season, in addition to his time with the Blue Jays over the last two weeks.
Ruiz had many chances to leave the game during the past decade, but said it was never something he considered.
What complicated matters for Ruiz, though, was that despite dominating at times in the minors — he won three batting titles, while posting a .304 career average — he could never catch on with a team. He played for 10 different organizations, and was either released or granted free agency nine times.
Ruiz preferred to take a positive approach to his nomadic time in the minors.
“People would say 10 different organizations in 11 years (negatively) and I think they’re a little wrong,” he said. “You’re just trying to go somewhere where you have an opportunity. People don’t see that.”
Leaning on his grandparents and his father for support helped Ruiz stave off any negative thoughts.
“They would say, ‘If that’s what you want or that’s your dream, just go for your dream. Don’t worry about anything else. Everything else will take its place,’” he recalled.
Things are now taking their place for Ruiz, who has provided a welcome spark to Toronto’s lineup. While batting .315 over 14 contests, he has garnered hits in all but two of his games. Already being evaluated for a spot on next year’s club, Ruiz said he wants to “make a name for myself” as 2009 winds down.
“They always say good things happen to good people who wait,” said Ruiz.
“And I’ve been waiting a long time.”
Consistent power threat
• Over the past five years in the minors, Ruiz bloomed into a consistent power threat, averaging about 24 homers a season during that span. That power has translated into his time with the Jays. Since being called up by Toronto, Ruiz has clubbed four home runs in just 14 games.