Javier Báez has endeared himself to Cubs and baseball fans alike with his wicked defensive skills, daredevil baserunning and powerful bat. Once a utility player of sorts, Báez earned the starting shortstop job and spot in the heart of the Cubs order.
As El Mago’s legend continues to grow on the field, here are some things to know about him.
1. Báez was born in Puerto Rico in 1992 and moved to Jacksonville, Florida in 2005 with his mother, sister and three brothers. He learned English by teaching himself words (even if he wasn’t sure the meaning) and picking up words from friends.
2. Báez throws and bats right-handed, but he’s a natural lefty. This helps explain why he’s one of the best taggers in the game, making seemingly impossible plays.
Last season, Báez took a left-handed at-bat during a blowout win over the Reds. To make the situation even more unique, Reds catcher Kyle Farmer was on the mound. Báez flew out, but his swing (per usual) was vicious.
3. Báez is the cover athlete for MLB The Show 20. Much like in real-life, Báez’ skills in the game are electric.
4. Báez and his wife, Irmarie, got married in January 2019. The couple had their first son, Adrian Javier Báez Marquez, in June 2018, and he looks like a baseball superstar in the making.
That bat flip, though. He’s taking after dad already.
Javier Bez’ ambidexterity and other facts about the Cubs superstar shortstop originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago