Steiner Stories: Addison Barger
When Addison Barger joined the Vancouver Canadians earlier this year, he came to the club a little bit different than his teammates. For most players in the Northwest League, the focus is just on baseball, but there’s a lot more to it for Barger. At 22-years-old and in his fourth
When Addison Barger joined the Vancouver Canadians earlier this year, he came to the club a little bit different than his teammates. For most players in the Northwest League, the focus is just on baseball, but there’s a lot more to it for Barger.
At 22-years-old and in his fourth season of professional baseball, Barger has a wife and a 1-year-old daughter, both in Florida while he plays in Vancouver. Still, it’s just one thing that separates him from the status quo.
“It adds a bit of pressure because you have a wife and kid to support,” Barger told Canadiansbaseball.com about his family that came to watch him in Hillsboro earlier this season. “I got to play in front of her [my daughter] last year in Dunedin, and I hit a home run for her, so that was pretty cool, but she was very little.”
The Toronto Blue Jays' sixth-round selection from the 2018 MLB Draft is a rarity in Single-A and High-A baseball, playing in the league with a spouse and a child. Still, he is obsessed with baseball and bringing success to himself and the Vancouver Canadians.
Homeschooled from the start, baseball was always the plan. While his three older brothers never excelled in the game, the baseball diamond in the backyard at the Barger home in Bellevue, Washington, just down the I-5 from Vancouver was where Addison fell in love with the sport.
“It was primitive, but I grew up with that, so I was on the field a lot more than I was in the classroom,” he said. “It was all baseball all the time since I was five or six years old; I would be playing out there for five or so hours a day.”
While it wasn’t until the age of 10 that playing professionally became the goal, there had been a clear outset from Barger and his baseball-loving father from a young age. From when he was 10, though, he thought he could make something of a life in baseball.
In 2018, sitting in his living room with roughly 30 other family members, that dream turned to reality when the Blue Jays called his name with the 176th pick. “I think my dad loves baseball more than I do, but I’m the only baseball player in the family,” Barger said.
11 years removed from when he began to target a professional career, Barger is finding success with the Canadians in his first season with the club. Through 116 at bats, he is batting at a .267 clip, with 28 RBI, and has established himself as a mainstay in Brent Lavallee’s lineup.
Despite not getting a chance to see much of Vancouver yet, Barger has settled into the team and the situation in the Northwest League. After all, it’s near where he grew up, so the early season conditions are no surprise to him.
Away from the diamond, not only can he be found talking to his wife and daughter on the phone, but he is also one of the team’s few musicians, bringing his guitar on the road and entertaining the team in their living setup in Vancouver.
Like his father, who brought him to baseball, Addison found his way to music through a similar path. Picking up the guitar at 12-years-old, he doesn't fancy himself a future singer, but can entertain his family and teammates with a little bit of Justin Bieber, a fitting artist for playing in Canada,
“Maybe it’s annoying,” he said of his musical talents, “I don’t know if anyone is a good singer, but [Hunter] Gregory can sing a little bit.”
When the Blue Jays inked Barger to a contract back in 2018, he was a much different young man. No wife and no established play at a high level, just a fresh-faced prospect committed to the NCAA’s University of Florida Gators. However, three years later, he has found his place in the organization and is a critical member of the 2022 Canadians two months into the season.
While his young family is over 5,000 kilometres away, Barger has established himself in the minor leagues in 2022 but sees team success as essential in his baseball career at the moment.
“I just want us to start winning more and get first place in the standings,” he said. “If we can have a really good run for the rest of the year, then each individual will have a good year too.”