5 Things You Didn’t Know About Atlanta Braves’ Evan Gattis

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Atlanta Braves’ Evan Gattis

gattis
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves rookie catcher Evan Gattis has one of the more interesting stories you will ever hear. His journey from high school to being on a Major League roster is truly inspiring, especially since it could have easily never happened.

The 6’4”, 235-pound slugger spent three years in the minors in which he never suited up for a team higher than Double-A. He posted staggering numbers, including a .308 career batting average, 44 home runs, 167 RBI and 54 doubles in 832 at-bats.

The 26-year-old clinched a spot on the 25-man roster after dominating in Spring Training. His .368 batting average, six home runs and 16 RBI in 57 at-bats were more than enough to convince the Braves that they needed to find a place for him on the active roster.

Originally, Gattis was only supposed to be on the team until starting catcher Brian McCann returned from shoulder surgery. However, after he crushed four home runs in his first eight MLB games, including his first career homer in his second big league at-bat, Atlanta knew they had someone special in their presence.

"And to think, this guy wasn't even in our plans in spring training," Braves general manager Frank Wren said, according to USA Today.

Gattis is batting .269 with 12 home runs, 32 RBI, 11 doubles, 11 walks and 22 runs in 145 at-bats during the 2013 season. If everything on this first slide sounds incredible, it is critical to continue the slideshow and read five interesting facts about Gattis.

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Self-Medicated Before College

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Gattis decided to play baseball for Texas A&M after high school. Unfortunately, the pressure of playing college ball got to him, which forced him to use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. That led to him becoming clinically depressed in which he was admitted to a rehabilitation facility. He used inpatient and outpatient therapy to cure his issues.

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Quit Baseball

quit
Daniel Shirey-USA Today Sports

After several months of therapy, Gattis had a desire to get back into baseball. He got an offer to play for Seminole State College where he redshirted his freshman year. Midway through the 2006 season, Gattis decided to quit the game he spent a majority of his life playing.

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Contemplated Suicide

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Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

In 2007, during the darkest period of his life, Gattis contemplated committing suicide.

"I was in a mental hospital," Gattis told USA TODAY Sports. "I couldn't sleep for an entire week, and I knew something was wrong with me. So I got admitted. I was so depressed, all I could think about was killing myself.

"I wanted to kill myself for a long time."

Thankfully, he got control of his life and decided to head down a different path.

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Several Interesting Jobs

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

For the next several years, Gattis worked several interesting jobs. He made a living as a parking valet, janitor and ski-lift operator. He also worked in a pizza parlor, at a ski resort and at Yellowstone National Park before ending his incredible run. His time traveling to three different states and working numerous jobs allowed him to clear his mind.

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Two NL Rookie of the Month Awards

awards
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

“El Oso Blanco,” the nickname given to Gattis while he played in the Venezuelan league this past winter, has come a long way since being terrified to play baseball in college. “The White Bear” has performed so well in the first two months of his rookie season that he was awarded the National League Player of the Month for April and May. There is no question he has established himself at the plate and in the field. Hopefully, he can continue to play at a high level so that his story will live on forever.

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