Astro’s backup catcher thought he’d never play baseball again when he ended up in rehab. Now he’s a World Series champion

"I was afraid to fail."
November 7, 2017 2:56 pm Last Updated: November 11, 2017 5:41 pm

The 2017 World Series win of the Houston Astros was running high with emotions. Besides the Game 7 win marking the first World Series win in Astro’s history, and besides shortstop Carlos Correa proposing to his girlfriend on live TV after the game, this night was a triumph for someone else.

This was the night that Evan Gattis’s journey came full circle.

(ABC 13 News/Screenshot)

Gattis started playing baseball at age 6, and was getting scholarship offers from Rice University and Texas A&M when he was in high school.

A prodigy in his own right, it looked like he was on the fast track to Major League Baseball ever since elementary school.

Gattis, though very talented, had problems he was dealing with during his childhood and adolescence. According to his father, his parents’ divorce at age 8 had taken a heavy toll on him. As a result, he turned to using alcohol and drugs in his senior year of high school.

He also put huge pressure on himself to be a good baseball player and was scared of failure.

“I was basically terrified of the whole idea of going to a big college and playing baseball,” he told SportsDay. “I was 17 years old. I didn’t know who I was, and I was under a lot of pressure.”

Instead of college, he ended up going to rehab to deal with his issues, along with battling anxiety and depression, which also came as a result of his parents’ divorce.

“It was anger and depression issues. He had a lot of anger and anxiety toward me and his mom,” his father told USA Today Sports.

The time in rehab cost him the scholarships he had been offered.

“I couldn’t sleep for an entire week, and I knew something was wrong with me. So I got admitted,” Gattis told USA Today Sports. “I was so depressed, all I could think about was killing myself.” He had also spent time at a halfway house trying to get better.

After months of this, he had tried his hand at baseball once again at a different college, but a knee injury kept him out, and eventually, killed his dream of playing baseball for the time being.

“He looked me in the eye and he said ‘I don’t want to talk baseball anymore, I’m done,'” his father told ABC 13 News.

Gattis then drifted from job-to-job in different states.

Gattis worked as a car valet, a pizza cook, a golf cart attendant, and even a janitor among other jobs that had him traveling cross-country. Though he would occasionally call his family to let them know he was ok, he was still wandering aimlessly.

Once he was at the point where he was homeless in New York, Gattis traveled to California to find himself. There, he met a spiritual teacher that changed him for the better.

While Gattis has never been able to go into extensive detail on what the spiritual adviser told him, it gave him the push to start playing baseball again.

Somehow, Gattis had found the answers he was looking for in California.

Once he found himself, he returned to baseball, no longer troubled by his past. After going to the University of Texas-Permian Basin to start up his baseball dream again, he came in with the Atlanta Braves in 2010, and was traded to the Astros in 2015, and the rest is history.

“It was a long road,” Gattis said in 2013, “and a lot of twists and turns. But I can say I have never been happier in my whole life.” Maybe being a World Series champion has topped that.

Gattis played in six of the seven games of the World Series and was able to score a run and be walked five times from the pinch hitter and designated hitter positions.

After such a long adventure, to see Evan Gattis conquer his demons is a story that can inspire anyone to not let their past get the best of them.

“Hopefully I can be an inspiration to kids going through the same thing,” Gattis told USA Today Sport. “Maybe, when they know my story, they’ll see a way out.”

Watch his story in the video below: