“That was a scary one,” said Galloway, who has 161 stolen bases in the minors. “Thoughts creep into your mind: I’m older now, I have an injury, and my legs are a big part of my game.’ That was a pretty down time.”
But the Marlins brought Galloway back for another season, his fourth in New Orleans, and he had played 947 career minor league games when his manager, Arnie Beyeler, called him on Tuesday afternoon. The Baby Cakes were traveling to El Paso, Tex., for a game — but Galloway would not be joining them.
“He told me there was a possibility of a trade, so I should hang out in New Orleans and keep my phone near me,” Galloway said. “I didn’t know what to expect.”
Beyeler eventually told him to go to the airport, and then informed him that the Marlins had traded Cameron Maybin — a right-handed outfielder, like Galloway — to the Seattle Mariners. That meant Galloway was headed to the majors at last, to join the Marlins in Atlanta.
Galloway called his parents, waited out a weather delay and flew to Atlanta, where a car service, with the Marlins-Braves game playing on the radio, whisked him to SunTrust Park. A cart then hustled Galloway through a stadium corridor to the door of the visitors’ locker room, where he hurriedly buttoned up uniform No. 79.
“In an inning and a half,” he said, “I’m in the game.”
After entering for defense in the seventh inning, Galloway came to bat in the ninth, beating out an infield single and clapping his hands as he crossed first base. Galloway said he would give the ball to his grandmother, Olean White. Only one player in team history — Brian Daubach, in 1998 — had ever made his debut after playing more games in the minors.
“I cried at different spots in the day; it was so overwhelming and chaotic,” Galloway said. “I think when I got the hit and got to first, I was shaking and I didn’t really know why.”