Asian American Addison Russell, the pivotal hero in the Chicago Cubs’ historic comeback from a 3-1 championship series deficit, loves and admires the women in his life.
Born to a Filipino mother who hails from Olongapo City, the 22-year-old shortstop phenom has been vocal in expressing his respect and admiration for his mom Milany and wife Melisa.
“My mom has always given some of the best advice that I can remember,” Russell wrote in a post on MLB.com last Mother’s Day.
“She told me, and I’m pretty sure she told Melisa too, that a marriage is this thing you take care of,” he added. “You have to protect it and treat it with such care. You have to be able to grow it. My mom puts it in a way I can’t bring to life, but that’s basically what she says.”
As the oldest among four children, Russell took responsibility to help his parents while growing up in Pensacola, Fla.
“With my mom and dad being so young, and having to go through a lot of struggles and overcoming a lot of struggles together, I think that’s what has driven me to this point,” he told MLB.com.
“They were just trying to live their lives, and not for themselves but for their kids. They were a loving family.”
With his parents working a lot and usually away, Russell said they learned to raise themselves and be street smart.
“I helped raise my brother and sisters. I knew at a very young age that whenever I got on my feet, I would have children at a young age,” he said.
As both Filipino-Americans, he and his wife Melisa are proud of their heritage. Being a young and excited couple, Melisa’s pregnancy was a major turning point in their lives.
“We look back and see how things unfolded, and we’re glad we’re at the point we are today,” he said.
Melisa took on the challenging role of being a young mother at the same time being the wife of a big league ballplayer.
“She had a lot of things to overcome herself — being brought into this lifestyle and being a mother and in this lifestyle are two different things,” Russell said. “It’s hard to get used to at first. She’s here, we’re married and we’re going to have each other’s back.”
It seems Russell’s outlook and attitude toward life and work have been paying off as evident in his young, blossoming pro career. Fresh off the Cubs’ miraculous championship series that ended a 108-year championship drought last Wednesday, this young Asian American is more than prepared for baseball superstardom.
“I don’t think that he is really aware of the magnitude of how much Filipinos are proud of our own because he is so humble about things,” Milany told ABS-CBN. “He doesn’t look at himself as a super famous guy.
“He just thinks he’s a normal kid who loves to play ball and living his dream.”