Home sweet home. Fayette County High alum Niko Goodrum returned to town over the weekend, playing in Atlanta for the first time as a Major Leaguer, and he was a rude guest in leading the Detroit Tigers offense against the Braves.
Playing in front of more than two dozen friends and family, Goodrum started the series off with a bang. Batting leadoff in Friday night’s series opener, he went 5-for-5 with 2 home runs, a double, and 3 RBIs as the Tigers routed the Braves 8-2.
“I haven’t played in front of the majority of them since I was in high school,” Goodrum told MLB.com. “A lot of my family can’t travel up [to Detroit]. Being able to go out there and perform, I’m sure they had a good time. It was pretty cool.”
He is the first Tiger to rack up a 5-for-5 game at the plate with 2 homers and 3 extra-base hits in a game since May 2003.
“Niko was, defensively and offensively, superhuman in his hometown,” said Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire. “When you come back and have a night like that, those are special things. He won’t forget that one, I’ll guarantee. Nor will his family.”
He kept swinging a hot bat in game two, going 2-for-5 with a triple and a RBI in a 10-5 Tiger loss. In game three, he went 1-for-4 with a walk in a 7-4 Tiger loss.
Goodrum was a second round pick of the Minnesota Twins in 2010 out of Fayette County High. He made his Major League debut for the Twins in September 2017, but they chose to let him walk at the end of the season. The Tigers invited Goodrum to spring training camp on a minor league deal for 2018, and he made the most of it, carving out a regular role for himself as a super utility player.
With a successful homecoming in the books, next up for Goodrum is a push for the All-Star Game in Cleveland. The Tigers are hoping fans rock the vote and add another unforgettable memory to the Goodrum mantle.