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Rangers rookie meets his father

September 13, 1997

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) _ At last, Texas Rangers third baseman Fernando Tatis fulfilled his wish.

Tatis, who had not seen his father since he was a child in the Dominican Republic, finally met up with his dad prior to Friday night’s game between the Rangers and Minnesota Twins.

Fernando Tatis Sr., a Sarasota, Fla., painting contractor and former minor league player and coach in the Houston Astros organization, had spoken by phone with his son on Aug. 19. The two were anxious to meet, and the Rangers brought in Tatis Sr. and his family for the weekend series against the Twins.

``It was very emotional to finally meet him,″ said Fernando Jr., a rookie who had been searching for his father since 1994 when he began playing baseball in the United States.

``Ever since I talked to him on the phone, I’ve been excited to see him. The past is past. I don’t care about that. We’re starting over. I care about what’s going to happen in the future,″ he said.

While he was playing minor league baseball in Florida, Tatis Jr. took out an advertisement in a newspaper in an unsuccessful effort to find his dad. This year, Omar Minaya, the Rangers’ director of professional and international scouting, suggested to Tatis that he use the newspapers again.

Last month at Yankee Stadium, Tatis told his story to a reporter from the New York Times, urging his father to contact him. The story was picked up by the Sarasota, Fla., Herald-Tribune, where his father’s brother-in-law read it and contacted the paper. From there, calls were made to the team and Minaya spoke with Tatis’ father. Minaya then informed the 22-year-old Tatis that his father was in Florida.

Meanwhile, Tatis Sr. had been made aware of his son’s baseball ability through his brother, Rafael, of New York City. But the elder Tatis had been reluctant to contact his son after so many years of separation.

Tatis Sr. and his son lost contact when the parents divorced. Tatis Sr.’s second wife and two sons, ages 4 and 13, were also on hand Friday.

``Someone told me my son is a better player than I was,″ said Tatis, 48, who advanced to the Double-A level in the Astros organization before ending his playing career in 1978. ``I’ve been watching him play on TV. It’s nice to be able to see him play myself, to know he has my blood.″

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