White Sox catcher Rob Brantly posed for a photo with the serviceman being honored Monday night in the middle of the game against the Angels at Guaranteed Rate Field, then took hold of his hand and raised it up to the crowd.
When the duo spoke of the moment afterward, they both were emotional.
The Air Force Master Sergeant being honored on his final day before retirement was Brantly’s father, Robert.
The younger Brantly didn’t play in Monday’s 4-2 victory over the Angels, but he still had a nice surprise for his family attending the game. He arranged with the Sox to have his father honored as the team’s “Hero of the Game” to celebrate the end of his 37-year career in the military and his 56th birthday — both falling on the same day.
“When I saw my son there and gave him a big hug and he told me I was his hero, it meant the world,” Robert said. “I can’t express it any other way than just gratitude for this organization, this team and my family putting up with me being away for so many different occasions with the military.”
Rob waited until Sunday to tell his father, who taught him about baseball as a Southern California Angels fan.
The pair hugged in front of the standing ovation from the crowd, and Robert, who was in full uniform during the tribute and wore a camouflage Sox cap afterward, left with a bat signed by the Sox players.
“He would tell me he puts on that uniform every day so I don’t have to,” Rob said. “It carries a lot of weight.
“To be able to do something like that for him and to finish off his career, his first day of retirement, tipping his cap to a Major League Baseball crowd giving him a standing ovation, it was a special moment for him and our family. I was glad I was able to be there to share that with him.”
.@robbrantly‘s Dad – Master Sergeant Robert Stuart Brantly – was honored tonight as the Hero of the Game.
It was a very special moment. pic.twitter.com/KXRr8nWt8D
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 26, 2017
(c)2017 the Chicago Tribune
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.