Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler is going into his tenth year in Major League Baseball and will make $14 million this season. The four-time All-Star player has not forgotten about where he once was and he proved that by giving Tigers prospect Wynton Bernard a gift he will never forget.
Earlier in the week, between drills, Kinsler and Bernard got to talking after noticing they were wearing the same style of shoes. Bernard asked Kinsler if he had seen the navy blue version. Kinlser told him that he had not yet seen them yet but asked the prospect what shoe size he wore and Bernard told him.
That was pretty much it until Bernard came into the locker room a couple of days later and was pleasantly surprised by what he found.
“Two days later,” Bernard said, “I showed up at my locker and there were a brand new pair of Nikes there. That was awesome. I saw them in my locker and I knew right away. I was like, ‘Ian got these for me.’ What an amazing teammate.”
Bernard is a 24-year-old outfielder who was drafted in the 35th round of the MLB Draft in 2012 by the San Diego Padres. Last season he hit .323 with 42 extra base hits and six home runs in 583 plate appearances for the West Michigan Whitecaps. Bernard also showed some speed as he stole 45 bases for the team while getting caught stealing 19 times. Those stats seem impressive but they take a bit of hit when considering that he was playing against competition younger than him. Though Bernard is a very hard worker and gives it his all, he has virtually no chance to actually make the Tigers’ Opening Day roster.
Helping out the younger prospects is something veteran players have been doing for a long time and will continue to do. Wynton Bernard may or may not ever make a Tigers roster but he will never forget the gift that Ian Kinsler gave to him in the spring of 2015. Who knows, maybe things will pan out for Bernard and he will someday do the same thing for a young prospect.