Skip to main content
Original Issue



On his idealpastime at home in San Pedro de Macorís, D.R.
Chilling with my buddies at the corner store. We pull up a bench and hang outall afternoon, into the night. We cook on a carbon stove and make chercha.Chercha is laughing, joking and talking about everything.

On his idealpastime in New York
Hanging out in my barbershop with my Dominican friends. It's two minutes fromYankee Stadium. I sit there with the guys and talk and listen to music. It'svery nice there.

On the impact ofhis father, José
I didn't see him often because he was playing baseball. But when I had vacationfrom school, he'd take me with him. He took me to Mexico, where he was in thesummer league every year for five years. He taught me that without disciplineyou can't get anywhere.

On the impact ofhis mother, Claribel Mercedes
We never talk about baseball. Nada, nunca. She was always concerned that Irespect my elders and become someone. She taught me to study hard. My parentswere on top of me. Even though my dad was overseas, he'd call and ask where Iwas, what I was doing, who I was with.

On Derek Jeter'simpact
My first experience was when I did [a TV] interview with my shades on. Jetertold me, "Next time don't do that. People will think you're cocky."This year he told me to remember that no one is secure in this game. He said,"I have to keep working too. Nothing is certain."

On hisnicknames
They call me Ray Charles because they say I've got a big smile like him. AndJeter doesn't call me Canó; he calls me Canoe.

On his first bigleague slump
Oh! When I first got here, I went 2 for 23. Joe Torre helped. We were playingSeattle, and I hit a ground ball my first at bat. He said, "Keep swinging.You are swinging very well." After that I hit a single. Then a double.That's what motivated me. Having the support of the jefe.

On his livingarrangements
I live in New Jersey with my mom. She cooks and everything. I get home and Iforget about what happened in the game. We chat; I might go to the movies.

On immigrants
Immigrants do the work nobody else wants to do. In the Dominican Republic,Haitians do jobs like chopping sugarcane. Immigrants who work hard to make abetter life for themselves should be given a chance.

On his favoriteballplayer of all time
Bernie Williams. I've been a Yankees fan since I was a kid. [Williams] alwaysgets the job done. And he's always humble.

--As told to LuisFernando Llosa, who translated this interview from Spanish



Photograph by Michael J. Lebrecht II/1Deuce3 Photography