First Homer Carried Special Meaning For Hoes
BALTIMORE—L.J. Hoes became the 52nd player to appear in a game for the Orioles this season when he was inserted into a late-September game as a pinch-runner. He got his first major league at-bat on the same night that the Orioles presented him with their Brooks Robinson Award as the organization's minor league player of the year.
Hoes, a 22-year-old outfielder who hit .287/.372/.388 with five home runs between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk, returned to instructional league after the final regular-season home game so he could get some at-bats before the start of the Arizona Fall League. For much of the season, Hoes had played with a heavy heart.
Hoes' grandfather, Charles Eguster Hoes, died on Aug. 16 from complications related to ALS. Three nights later, Hoes kept a promise and hit a home run.
"The last time I talked to him, among his last words were, he told me to hit him a home run," Hoes said. "I got a little emotional running around those bases. He always said he looked forward to me playing at Camden Yards one day. When I walked into the (Orioles) clubhouse that first day, that was the first thing on my mind. I'll be able to honor him when I go out there. This whole season I've been playing for my grandfather. Wanted to get here to play on TV, so he could see me.
"He was ill for about two years with ALS. This past year really just took a toll on his body. He went from walking around to being in a wheelchair at Christmas time. Then in March and April, he was pretty much not doing anything, just laying in bed.
"The last time I saw him I could barely understand him. He was just so weak. It definitely took a toll on my family. Me, him and my dad were very, very close. To see someone so strong and that you looked up to get so weak, it was tough. It took a toll on me. When I was in Bowie, I would leave games to drive and see him and come back and play the next day. It was tough to see him, how he was."
• As expected, the Orioles chose righthander Dylan Bundy as their minor league pitcher of the year.
• The Orioles named director of pitching development Rick Peterson the winner of their Cal Ripken Sr. player development award, presented to a minor league staff member who exemplifies the qualities of the late Oriole.