This story is excerpted from Juan Toribio’s Dodgers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, Click here. And subscribe to receive it regularly in your inbox.
Graterol said he was nervous and eager to meet Cabrera. Once he had the legend in front of him, he said, he didn’t know what to say to a player he grew up watching as a kid in Venezuela.
“To be honest, I just said to him, ‘I have no words at the moment,'” Graterol said in Spanish. “I congratulated him on the 3,000 hits and all the hits that are still coming. But I didn’t know what else to say to him. I was so excited.
During their conversation, Graterol told Cabrera that there was another person who wanted to meet him: his mother, Ismalia. Graterol credits his mother for all his successes in life and he wanted her to be part of this special moment. Ismalia is also a big Cabrera fan.
“My mom wanted to meet him for so long,” Graterol said. “I called her on FaceTime and we talked for a bit. It was just an amazing moment not only for me, but for my mom and my whole family.
When Graterol was 15, his first baseball jersey was that of Cabrera. He hoped one day to reach the big leagues, just like Cabrera. On Saturday, the two shared another moment and Cabrera let him know he would send another one of his jerseys, but this one will be signed by the future Hall of Famer.
“It’s a moment I will never forget,” Graterol said.