Berlin Borough native and 2017 Eastern graduate Davis Schneider made his Major League Baseball debut on Aug. 4 for the Toronto Blue Jays.
The 24-year-old utility player was a four-year starter and standout for the Vikings, but chose the draft over college. He was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in round 28 of the 2017 draft at pick 849, making his debut all the more impressive.
In his first game, Schneider batted in the seventh spot against the Red Sox. In five plate appearances, he had two hits – one a homer. He finished the Boston series – a Blue Jays’ sweep – with five RBIs, three walks, and two home runs, becoming the first MLB player to start a career that way in three games.
In an interview with the Blue Jays’ social media, Schneider was asked about his accomplishments.
“I’m a big stat guy when it comes to MLB history,” he acknowledged. “That’s pretty cool to be one of one. I can’t really describe it.”
“It has been tough to keep him out of the lineup,” said Blue Jays manager John Schneider (no relation). “He’s been a spark. It’s been refreshing to see a dude work his (tail) off and get here and see the results that he saw early.”
Davis’ success has made waves in the Eastern and Berlin communities. Fans posted updates to Facebook last weekend congratulating the Schneider family.
“You have made Berlin so proud,” one said.
“I’m a Phillies fan, but also a Davis Schneider fan,” said another.
“(It’s) a great story,” said Mayor Rick Miller. “I reached out to him privately to congratulate him and let him know how much joy he has brought to Berlin. We are all so proud of him.”
Schneider’s biggest fan is his mother, Elena, who noted that the past week has been wild. She knows her son’s hard work will not stop now that he’s in the majors; in fact, she expects him to work harder
“Baseball is a funny game,” she noted. “You have to have an even-keel level headedness to your character. As a parent who has watched him play competetive baseball since he was 7 years old, I know (his character).
“I think baseball players have to have that short-time memory (and) take things one at bat at a time,” Elena added. “Each at bat, each game, is a new opportunity.”
That level headedness Elena touched on was something she and her son talked about when it came time for him to choose between playing in college and entering the draft. While many parents would encourage an education, the Schneider’s had 100 percent trust in Davis to make the right decision for himself.
“His dream wasn’t going to college …” she recalled. “I trusted him. I know my son. My husband and I never said anything to him. We just knew what he wanted and knew he was going to accept becoming a Blue Jay.”
Davis’ high-school baseball coach and Eastern head coach Rob Christ said his former player seemed unfazed by adversity in his career.
“I’ve known Davis since he was 8 years old,” Christ pointed out. “He always wanted to be the best and he was the best (player) I ever coached. Watching him develop was always exciting: You could see his high baseball IQ, (see) his competitiveness …
“He was one of the best defensive players I have ever had in my 30 years of coaching. Just phenomenal.”
In addition to Davis’ skills on the field, Christ highlighted his eagerness to learn, his coachability and his overall attitude toward life.
“People want to talk about how great Davis was on the field, but off the field, as a teammate, he really is just one of the best guys …” the coach noted. “Easy to root for.”
Christ and Elena are both teachers at Eastern and have known each other for years during Davis’ Little League career. Christ still makes an effort to see him play whenever he can.
As for the Schneider’s, Elena looks forward to her son’s first home series in Toronto and is excited for the new opportunities she knows he will experience, the people he’ll meet and the knowledge he’ll learn along the way.
For Davis’ first series in Boston, he was cheered on by his sisters and dad and the many friends from Eastern and in baseball he has made so far in what looks like a stellar career.
“As a mother, it’s not about the money,” Elena revealed. “I’m so excited for him to experience all of these wonderful (things). The travel and other baseball (players) he’ll be around.
“I can’t wait … I’m so proud of him.”