SIOUX CITY — Jose Sermo stands alone.
With one swing of the bat on Tuesday night at Mercy Field, the Sioux City Explorers first baseman took his spot atop the team’s all-time home run leaderboard, as Sermo’s first inning homer off of Winnipeg Goldeyes starting pitcher Skylar Janise was the 58th of his Explorers’ career, a new team record.
After the game, an 8-7 Sioux City loss to the Goldeyes, Sermo said that owning the team record was ‘definitely special.’
“It’s something I’ve been working on my whole life, to leave a mark everywhere I play,” Sermo said. “It finally has happened. I’m pretty proud of myself, and pretty proud of my family for supporting me. I’m proud of the team we have right now, and I appreciate (manager) Steve Montgomery for allowing me to be on this team.”
The first-inning bomb pushed Sermo past former Explorer Nolan Lane, who held the previous team record with 57 career homers with Sioux City.
Sermo, a former minor leaguer in the Milwaukee Brewers and Boston Red Sox organizations, first signed with Sioux City in 2018 after being released by Winnipeg.
People are also reading…
In his first season with the Explorers, Sermo finished with 22 homers and 81 RBIs, and followed that up with 13 home runs and 77 RBI in 2019.
Tuesday’s big fly puts the switch-hitting Sermo at 23 so far on the season, with nine of them coming since June 3.
Eighteen of Sermo’s homers this year have come from the left side of the plate, and five from the right handed side.
“It’s pretty special, especially for a kid that has put in all the hard work that he has over the years here,” X’s manager Steve Montgomery said. “To see him do it is just pretty special.”
In the past, Montgomery has told his first baseman to not try to be a superstar, and instead, just 'Be Jose Sermo.' Through the first 58 games of the season, that seems like some pretty good advice.
Sermo's 23 home runs puts him second in the league behind Adam Brett Walker II of Milwaukee, who has 25, and Sermo's 59 RBI on the season ranks fifth in the American Association.
The history-making moment came in Sermo’s first at-bat of the game. After working the count to 3-1, Sermo hit a opposite field shot over the left field wall to break the mark.
"He works hard every day, and he is like part of the family," Montgomery said. "It's pretty special, especially that he could do it in front of the home fans."
Sermo fist-bumped Montgomery after passing third base, and received congratulations from his teammates as he arrived back at the dugout.
It was a moment he has been waiting for, for a long time.
“(It was) emotional,” Sermo said. “It’s something that is leaving a mark, and basically like turning immortal. I’m always going to be in the books. It’s something that makes me happy. At some point I broke something, and eventually someone else will break it. It’s pretty special.”
It's not the first time that Sermo has made history on the diamond.
In 2018, Sermo hit 22 homer runs and 22 doubles for the Explorers, while stealing 24 bases, becoming the first player in American Association to cross the 20-20-20 mark. He is also just four home runs away from tying the team's single season home run record of 27, which was set by Kevin Garner back in 1997.
Sermo is hoping that there are still quite a few home runs to come for him in an X's uniform.
"As long I keep playing here, I will try to hit as much as possible," Sermo said. "If I get picked up, I'll probably come back toward the end of my career, or something like that. As of now, I'm at the top, and that is the fun part about it."
“It’s something that is leaving a mark, and basically like turning immortal. I’m always going to be in the books. It’s something that makes me happy. At some point I broke something, and eventually someone else will break it. It’s pretty special.”
— Jose Sermo