Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Jose Trevino is arguably one of the best things to happen to the New York Yankees this year. Traded from the Texas Rangers at the start of the season, Trevino has brought the team a running total of six home runs, two walk-off hits and an incredible defensive and offensive performance this season. Our Digital Media Coordinator Tyler Schultz had the pleasure of chatting with Trevino about the success so far this season, what’s to come and how South Texas helped prepare the catcher for the major leagues. Beyond baseball, we also chat about some of his influences and connections with the Coastal Bend and how he got to where he is today.
Tyler Schultz: Being from Corpus Christi, what has your journey from here to playing for the New York Yankees looked like?
Jose Trevino: It’s been exciting. It’s been different in a good way. You know, I’m used to the open roads and a lot of highways and backroads in Texas. No horns honking and stuff like that, and then you come to New York and it takes a while to get everywhere, it’s loud … but it’s been fun.
But going a bit further back, my next step [after graduating from John Paul High School] was to play at the college level. I had gotten called into the draft to ask if I was interested in being drafted and had told them no, that I was ready to go to college. I needed to go to college. I was young and it was important to me to develop and get better at my game. A crazy amount of things would have had to go perfectly for me to get drafted and go pro straight out of high school. I just decided it would be better if I go to college first. So then in 2014 [after college], I got drafted by the Rangers in the sixth round, and that’s how I got into the major leagues. Now here I am, playing for the New York Yankees.
TS: Did you always see yourself playing in the major leagues? How did growing up in Corpus Christi help you get there?
JT: The people who know me or who have known me for a long time know that I’ve always said it. From a young age, I was always like, ‘Hey, I’m gonna be a major league baseball player.’ Thankfully I don’t have many stories of anyone from South Texas saying I couldn’t do just that. I think that’s what’s great about South Texas, everybody around me bought into my dream when I would say I wanted to be a major league baseball player. Everybody in South Texas was like, ‘Yeah, you can do it, go out and chase your dreams. Just go have fun.’ There was never really anyone who told me to be more realistic or anything like that. That support is what really motivated me a lot. That’s why I am where I am today, because the people in South Texas were always cheering me on, always having my back.
TS: This season, it’s clear you’ve really stepped up to the plate (pun intended). Could you tell me a little about this season and what’s made it particularly special for you and the team thus far?
JT: It’s been special because every day we come to the field, we’re just trying to do our job—every individual guy is just trying to do their job. So it’s been really good and fun. It’s nowhere near over. There’s a lot of stuff that we still wanna accomplish as a team.
[Everyone] made me feel very comfortable here on the team, and you know building relationships with these guys has just been awesome. I’ve always said I wanted to be a New York Yankee, so the kid from South Texas in me is going crazy right now. I just have to keep it under control and understand that I’m here to handle some business. I mean, there’s truly one goal at the end of the year, and that’s to win the World Series. So that’s the goal in mind every day.
With the success, I just go back to me. Just having the best bats I can and that I’m doing my job. You know, there’s a lot of things that go through a hitter’s head in these big situations. Thankfully I feel, at a young age, I was taught how to calm myself down in those situations and just be. I know everybody’s starting to see these successes from me, whether it’s a walk-off hit or a big hit or whatever it may be. But what nobody sees is that I have failed. I’ve failed many times. I’ve failed a lot in those exact same situations. I’ve probably failed more times than I’ve succeeded. But for me, I feel like if I can learn from that and I can get better from it, then that’s what leads to me being successful in the long run. I feel more comfortable because I’ve learned from those situations, what I was feeling and what I was thinking.
TS: I know two of your walk-off hits took place on some significant dates for your family, one being on your late father’s birthday and the other on your son’s. I can imagine how special that was, what was the impact of that for you?
JT: You know, it’s special. It’s very, very special to me. My dad was a special person to me, he helped me a lot. He always made this game fun for me, even in the failures. He helped me to understand that I’m going to fail a lot in this game and in life, but he would always tell me it’s not about what happens when you fail, it’s what happens after. It’s how you answer. It’s how you come back from it, and that’s helped me so much—not only in baseball but in life. So that walk off hit I had on his birthday felt great, and then again on my son’s birthday, it was awesome for sure.
TS: What do you hope your son sees and learns from you through your experience as a professional baseball player?
JT: I just hope he learns what I’ve learned – that you’re going to fail. But you’ve gotta get back up and try again, in this game or whatever it is. If my son wants to play baseball, he can play baseball, but if he doesn’t, I’m just going to support him in whatever he wants to do, you know? I just hope he’s having fun, that he likes it and that he learns from it.
TS: It seems clear that family and community are important aspects of your life. What influence do those have on you personally and your game?
JT: Definitely, it’s big for me. There are days when you struggle as an athlete and your family’s there to pick you up all of those times. That’s what’s good about my whole family, they have my back and they’re always there for me and that’s what helps me the most.
TS: I know you’re still involved in the Coastal Bend community, and I’ve seen you share about a local organization, Special Hearts in the Arts. Could you share a bit about your involvement and what this organization means to you?
JT: One of the directors there, her name is Sherri Davis, she actually taught me at John Paul High School. She was one of the people in high school that was always encouraging me to chase my dreams, too. Always so encouraging. She definitely means a lot to me and the organization itself means a lot to me. It gives kids with special needs the opportunity to discover the arts—they’re acting, they’re singing, they’re dancing. It’s a nonprofit organization that solely runs on donations, so I like to help them in any way I can. It’s a great cause and Mrs. Davis has helped me so much.
TS: Will Corpus Christi always be home?
JT: Always, always, always and forever. I mean, not only Corpus Christi itself, but the people in Corpus Christi are awesome. The people in South Texas are awesome. I love to go back—going to eat at Wings N’ More, going to get Sno Ball. I’m telling you, man, I love it. I love everything about it. It definitely has a special place in my heart.
I just love South Texas, and I try to do as much as I can for the people there whenever I’m back home. I try to visit and even keep in touch with some of the kids that reach out to me from home. I just try to go back as much as I can and remind myself of where I came from.
TS: What advice would you give to any aspiring athletes in the Coastal Bend?
JT: That’s always a tough question for me, but I had a lot of people surrounding me that let me dream big, that let me have the goal of playing in the major leagues. I think what kids need to do is just keep chasing that dream. And it’s hard, there are days you’re going to want to give up. There are days you can just pack it up, just be done with it and move on to something else. But, if your dream means that much to you, you’ll stick with it.
Just enjoy the journey to the destination, for sure. Don’t be too quick to get to the destination because the journey, I feel, is what makes the destination so sweet. I had to learn that from a young age. I wanted to get to the destination so fast, that I didn’t care about the journey. But once I started slowing down, it helped me to gain some clarity, to realize the importance of it all. Just don’t be in a rush.