Schneemann delivers 1st hit, RBIs in debut after ‘long road’ to Majors

10:28 PM UTC

CLEVELAND — Allie Schneemann stood behind section 156 at Progressive Field on Sunday, reminiscing on a conversation she had with her now-husband, Daniel Schneemann, when they first met in college.

“I asked him what he wanted to study and he was like, ‘I’m just studying baseball. I just want to make it to the bigs,’” Allie said. “And I was like, ‘Well, what’s your backup plan?’ and he said, ‘I don’t have a backup plan. I’m just going all-in.’”

The first step to making this a reality came in 2018 for Daniel, when he was selected in the 33rd round (No. 1,003 overall) in the MLB Draft out of BYU. But six seasons came and went without that dream coming to fruition. That was, until Sunday, when he made his big league debut in the Guardians’ 5-2 loss to the Nationals.

“It’s definitely a day I won’t forget,” Schneemann said. “It’s a day I’ve been thinking about for a long time.”

Schneemann has been dreaming about this moment for so long that he hardly remembers when the obsession first started. After having success in high school and college, Schneemann’s first taste of professional ball resulted in a .196 average and a .628 OPS in 43 Minor League games in ‘18.

His numbers went up in ‘19, but after a canceled season in ‘20, his performance dipped in ‘21 and ‘22. But after he started to show signs of trending back in the right direction in ‘23, he made some swing changes to be even better in ‘24.

Schneemann decided to focus on lifting the ball more this winter, which has resulted in a noticeable change in power and pop. His 10 homers in Triple-A were the second most by any of Cleveland’s Minor League players, so it was no surprise when he finally got his chance to play in the big leagues on Sunday.

“It’s definitely been a long road,” Allie said. “Six years in the Minors, grinding it out, traveling and being away. … So it’s definitely been tough, but being here makes it all worth it.”

The Nationals had just scored four runs in the top of the second inning. The Guardians were trying to answer back right away. With runners on second and third, it was Schneemann’s turn to step in the batter’s box.

“I definitely had some nerves,” Schneemann said. “Just trying to keep the same approach that’s given me success this year.”

On the first pitch he saw from Nationals starter Jake Irvin, Schneemann laced a double into the right-field corner to score both runs.

“It was super overwhelming,” Allie said. “I was holding our daughter, so I got pretty emotional, but it’s super awesome to see all of his hard work pay off.”

As Schneemann rounded first base, Guardians outfielder Steven Kwan emerged from the dugout and was jumping up and down with his hand above his head, celebrating as if he was part of the Schneemann family.

“You’re always excited for somebody when they get their first hit,” Guardians manager Stephen Vogt said. “And you pile on the top a late-round pick, 27 years old and had to really work and earn every single bit of it and then to see him get his first hit on his first pitch, we were all jumping around like kids because we care for each other.”

Schneemann batted again in the fifth and this time sent the fourth pitch of the at-bat to deep center field. Although it was caught, it exploded off his bat at 107.1 mph. As he trotted back toward his dugout, the fans in the stands gave him a loud ovation.

“That was cool. I wasn’t really expecting that,” Schneemann said. “Running in, I got the chills.”

The only two runs the Guardians managed to score came from Schneemann’s bat. Cleveland’s nine-game winning streak at home came to an end. But for the Schneemann family, this was a win.

His parents, siblings, in-laws, daughter and wife filled the seats behind home plate. It was a surreal moment that all of them had been dreaming of experiencing. It was impossible not to reminisce on where he had come from. For Allie, she knew from one of the first conversations she had with her husband that he’d one day reach the big leagues. There was no need for a backup plan. Maybe it took a little longer than expected, but Sunday was worth the wait.

“If you have a goal,” Schneemann said, “I think if you just work hard enough, you can achieve it.”