RALEIGH (WTVD) -- It doesn't get more pure in the world of sports than a young man making his Major League Baseball debut. Such was the case last night for proud Raleigh native and the pride of Sanderson High School, Ryan Jeffers.
"You dream about this day as a baseball player forever. You know, to finally get that dream to come true and come out and perform like we did today, it's just a great first day out here."
Two years after being drafted 59th overall out of UNCW, Jeffers made sure his first taste of the big leagues was memorable, going 2-3 with an RBI single in his first MLB at-bat and calling a great game behind the plate in a Twins win.
"I had somebody ask me this morning - 'you must have been so nervous?' and there was no nerves, I was just really excited." Ryan's dad David told ABC11 on Friday.
For his parents back home it was a moment they've long dreamed up for their son.
"It's a bit crazy! I mean we knew it was gonna happen. He's been so close and he's worked so hard and he's been so dedicated for so long. So hyper-focused that we knew it would come sometime." said his mom Stephanie.
As much pride as they felt last night there was also a large dose of bittersweetness. These are moments best enjoyed in person, not on TV.
"It's been one of Stephanie's goals, knowing that he would likely get called up, that we would be on an airplane in a moment's notice and be there. So it's disappointing no doubt. Also nothing we can do about it. It didn't diminish our excitement and being able to touch base with him virtually it's been great. We talked him three times yesterday. We never talk to him three times in a day!" David laughs.
A product of the prolific West Raleigh youth baseball program, Jeffers was hardly a can't miss prospect but really hit his stride in Wilmington, where he began as a preferred walk-on. Now he's officially a major leaguer with the Twins.
Stephanie couldn't be prouder. "He's worked hard. He's not the kind of showy kid but golly, it doesn't matter."
Ryan was asked after the game last night about not being able to celebrate the moment with his wife and family.
"They know how much hard work I put in to get here. They know how much time and effort it took it to get me here. I know they're out there watching and they know. It's a good feeling."
The Jeffers family is already planning a big road trip next summer to follow Ryan's major league exploits in person.