INDIANAPOLIS — While not the youngest fan to grace Victory Field, 8-year-old Michael Parker became the youngest player to sign with the Indianapolis Indians and make a dream come true Thursday.
The team partnered with Make-A-Wish to fulfill Michael’s dream and give him the opportunity to attend his first Indians game.
The past year has been tough for him and his family. Michael was diagnosed with blood cancer in October 2021. After receiving a bone marrow transplant in May, he has been in recover and learned in July that the cancer was officially in remission.
“To get to the point where he’s allowed to go out in public and be able to do something as fun as be with the Indianapolis Indians, and be a player for a day, it’s just very emotional,” said Andrea Parker, Michael’s mother. “To Michael, it’s all so new to him. When we found out we were going to be with the Indians, he was very nervous.”
The day began with the Indians “signing” Michael to a one-day contract. Along with it came a personalized jersey with his favorite number “3” on the back.
He got to spend part of the day getting to know the team, and then watching batting practice this afternoon before tonight’s game with the St. Paul Saints.
“He was very nervous because he didn’t know what to expect. He thought he was going to have to go out on the field and play with the baseball players themselves. I told him no, there’s no expectations, you get to go have fun and watch,” Andrea said.
As part of pre-game ceremonies, Michael got his time on the field, throwing out the first pitch for tonight’s game.
He then joined Indianapolis Indians Manager Miguel Perez at home plate for the lineup exchange. He stood with the team during the national anthem and was announced as an honorary player during the starting lineups.
For Michael and his family, the night marked a return to normal. For the last few months he and his mom have been in Indianapolis, while the rest of his family was up-state.
“It means we get to be together as a family and enjoy something fun as a family. Which we haven’t been able to do in a long time,” his mom said.