It was an emotional moment for Hawaii’s Kolten Wong on Thursday, where after spending his first eight Major League Baseball seasons with the Cardinals, he returned to St. Louis for the first time as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers.
The former University of Hawaii All-American signed with the Brewers in the offseason after the Cardinals declined his club option for 2021 making him a free agent.
“As a young 23 year old when I first got into the league man, I got a chance to go to the World Series, I got a chance to learn a lot of things about myself and a lot of things in my game,” said Wong. “It was a great run, I had a great time in St. Louis and I learned how to play the game the right way and how to do things the right way. It will always have a special place in my heart for sure.”
Leading off the game, Wong was announced to the Busch Stadium crowd and was met with a standing ovation as former teammates Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright stepped aside from the action to allow fans to cheer longer for the two time gold glove award winner who acknowledged the crowd and was visibly appreciative of the gesture as tears filled his eyes.
“From day one, in 2013 I got picked off when I first got into the big leagues and for them to stick with me through that and all the good messages I got from then and the transition they’ve seen me take from being a young kid and trying to figure out my game to where I am today, I think it’s just a pride thing for all of us. They got to see me kind of grow into the person I am today and I got a chance to really appreciate these fans and how much they love their players so it was a good connection, something that I’ll always be super thankful for.”
The second baseman walked on four straight pitches in his first time at-bat and finished 0-for-3 in a 3-1 loss.
The series between will take a day off on Friday before returning for games on Saturday and Sunday.