New York Yankees reliever Jonathan Loáisiga grew up in Nicaragua, a country with a historically sparse representation on major league rosters. But from the moment his grandfather introduced him to baseball at age six, the 26-year-old Nicaragüense had a singular career objective in mind.
Little did Loáisiga know that the odds of making it to the big leagues are remote. They’re even lower if you come from a Central American country like Nicaragua.
Only 15 players from Nicaragua have ever reached the major leagues. So, the chances that Loáisiga would ever get to live out his dream were all but nonexistent.
A similar sentiment was relayed to him by a Yankees scout when he was a teenager in Nicaragua. To his credit, Loáisiga wasn’t having any of it.
“I remember some people told the Yankees scouts in Nicaragua not to sign me because I wasn’t disciplined enough and I wasn’t going to make it,” Loáisiga recalled. “I told them to give me an opportunity, and I will prove them wrong. Thank God, that’s how it worked out. I proved them wrong.”
Pinolero and Proud
Nicaragua is a small country with a population of about 6.5 million. It takes pride in being one of the most untouched regions in the world. The landscape features volcanoes, lakes, tropical forests and some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Latin America.
Nicaraguans also take pride in one of their own, the pinolero Jonathan Loáisiga. After proving those scouts wrong, he turned himself into one of the best relief pitchers in the game. Here’s how he ranks among other relievers in 2021:
While Loáisiga is proud of his achievements, he’s even more gratified by the sense of pride he’s given his family. His brother, father, and grandfather all played professional baseball, but never reached the major leagues.
His role and national stage with the Yankees have given him an opportunity to represent his country well, on behalf of his family.
“I take so much pride in being 100% Nicaragüense,” he said. “Being able to represent my country in the majors and worldwide makes me proud.”