Freddie Freeman shares emotional exchange with former Angel José Iglesias during game
Freddie Freeman didn’t know why Colorado Rockies shortstop José Iglesias was crying when he pulled into first base Friday afternoon.
Iglesias had just hit an RBI single, extending the Rockies’ early lead against the Dodgers on opening day. Yet, tears welled up in Iglesias’ eyes as he stopped, looked up and pointed at the sky.
Iglesias walked back toward the bag and the Dodgers new first baseman asked him what was wrong.
An emotional exchange followed.
Iglesias told Freeman that a few weeks ago his father, Candelario, died. Iglesias said his dad, a factory worker in Cuba, never missed watching one of Iglesias’ games.
It had been a constant comfort for the 11-year major league veteran, who signed with the Rockies this winter after playing for the Angels and Boston Red Sox last year.
Favored to win a second World Series championship in three years, the Dodgers checked all the boxes in a 5-3 victory at Colorado to begin the season.
And after recording his first hit since his dad’s death, Iglesias’ emotions overcame him.
It just so happened he was standing next to someone who could relate.
Freeman’s mother, Rosemary, died of melanoma in 2000 when Freeman was10 years old, a loss the Orange County native felt deeply.
“It’s the hardest thing to ever deal with,” Freeman said.
When Iglesias told Freeman about his loss, Freeman put a hand on his shoulder, patted him on the head and wrapped him in a one-arm hug.
“I just tried to be there for him and console him and know that, it’s more than a game,” Freeman said. “You never know what any of us are going through in life. If he didn’t tell me, I would never have known that he had lost his father a couple of weeks ago.
“So I think it just kind of reminds you to just have some compassion and some humility, and just be kind to others. Because in that moment, all I wanted to do was hug that guy.”
Cody Bellinger’s struggles at the plate create complications for a Dodgers team that values his fielding prowess. How much time will they give him?
Freeman told Iglesias about his mom while they stood by the bag, and they exchanged somber condolences. He didn’t say much else though. He knew words could only help so much.
“It kind of chokes me up because it just started making me think about my mom,” Freeman said. “When you lose a parent, all you can do is just give that person a hug. You know the words, no word is really going to be enough … You just have to let that person know you care about them.”
After the game, Iglesias described the exchange as “a beautiful moment.”
He added: “Beyond baseball, we’re human beings. That was very nice of Freddie.”
A day later, Freeman was still marveling at the circumstances — the fact that he was the one standing at the bag for Iglesias first hit of the season.
“I’m just happy to be able to share a moment with him,” Freeman said, “because I’ve been in the same shoes as him.”
Are you a true-blue fan?
Get our Dodgers Dugout newsletter for insights, news and much more.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.