CHICAGO (CBS) — A celebratory crowd watched as a portion of West Luis Munoz Marin Drive was officially unveiled as Javier “Javy” Baez Way on Tuesday.
“Are you ready for Javy?” 25th Ward Alderman Roberto Maldonado asked to a raucous crowd gathered outside Little Cubs Field in Humboldt Park.
Baez is the only Puerto Rican player on the Cubs’ roster. Maldonado said Baez’s heritage means a lot to the Humboldt Park community, WBBM’s Lisa Fielding reports.
“I promised my wife that I would continue to showcase the incredible talent of our Puerto Rican community in this great city,” he said. “Javier Baez symbolizes that greatness.”
Baez lost his father when he was 11 years old, and his sister died in 2015.
“He promised his father who he lost in 2004, that he would provide for his family just like his father did and look how he kept that promise,” Maldonado said.
Baez, who just finished playing for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, now has his name in the center of Chicago’s Puerto Rican community.
“First of all, thank you. Wow,” said Baez, who was left a bit speechless and than thanked his fans in Spanish.
“When I was growing up, it was always like we wanted to grow up like Mike,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “Now, in the city of Chicago, kids are growing up are saying I want to be like Javy. Javy’s name at Little Cubs Field will forever be a positive reminder to our youth how to raise above adversities and achieve personal greatness.”
“I love Javy’s personality, his well being,” Cynthia Mendez said. “I’m Mexican but his heritage, our culture, it means so much. There’s hope for the future for our children.”
The World Series trophy was also in attendance. The first 500 fans who scored a wristband were given a photo and a chance to meet Baez.