HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - From the Big Island to the Big League’s Kolten Wong has made ‘big’ plays on the baseball diamond his whole life.
The Kamehameha graduate has always been undersized for a professional athlete at 5′7 and 185 pounds, but his heart and determination to go after his goals has always been the difference in his success.
In his sixth season in the ‘Bigs’ the Hilo native never played bigger.
Wong’s 2019 season at second base for the St. Louis Cardinals culminated in his first career Major League Gold Glove Award.
“It’s one of those things when you win it its almost like a sense of pride for yourself, I finally proven that I belong here,” said Wong in an interview with Hawaii News Now on Tuesday. “You battle, you fight, and with the season there’s so much ups and down’s, but to see that award come my way and to know your now a part of a group of a few Hawaiians who have it, there’s definitely some pride that comes along with that.”
Wong led all National League second basemen in assists and was the runaway leader in Defensive Runs saved with 14.
There was added incentive for Wong to get the award this season, as he narrowly lost out on it in 2018 to DJ Lameihu despite statistically putting up the better season.
“I felt like this was going to be my year," said Wong." “I came in with that confidence and just kind of tried to let it go and go out there an thankfully I was able to kind of go and get it this year.”
Wong, was selected for the 2019 Gold Glove in the National League at second base ahead of fellow finalists Adam Frazier and Ozzie Albies.
Wong, also became the third Hawai’i born player to win Major Leagues highest defensive honor and hopes his journey to the top of the majors inspires the next local player to chase their big league dreams.
“It doesn’t matter where you are from," said Wong. "I’m born and raised in Hilo, 5 foot 7 185 pounds but I’m in the ‘Big Leagues’ I’m doing it. “Kids from Hawaii, need to understand that as long as you put your mind to it and fight at the end of the day that’s what it’s about, grinding and not giving up.”