By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
Opening day of the 2020 Major League Baseball season is one that Tyler Heineman will not soon forget. The 29-year-old Palisadian started at catcher for San Francisco, singling twice and scoring the Giants’ only run on a sacrifice fly in the third inning of an 8-1 loss to the LA Dodgers last Thursday night at Chavez Ravine. After sitting out the second game, a 9-1 Giants loss, Heineman was back in the lineup Saturday afternoon. He drew a walk in the second inning, then singled and scored in the fourth as the Giants prevailed, 5-4. In Sunday’s series finale, he added a hit and a walk in his team’s 3-1 win.
Due to social distancing rules because of COVID-19, no fans were allowed at Dodger Stadium for the series, nevertheless Tyler’s parents Steve and Kathy watched proudly from their house on Radcliffe Avenue, where Tyler and his younger brother Scott grew up.
On January 6, Tyler signed a minor-league deal with the Giants and was invited to spring training. Tyler and Scott, now 27, both made their major league debuts last season, Scott as an outfielder with the Texas Rangers in August against Detroit and Tyler as a pinch hitter with the Miami Marlins one month later in Pittsburgh. They became the 396th set of siblings to play in the major leagues.
In June the brothers offered their support during the pandemic, donating meals to first responders every weekend from mid-April through mid-June. They bought food from local restaurants and delivered it to the Santa Monica Police Department, where Steve served for 25 years. On Mother’s Day, the family took roses to the mothers working as a thank you for their sacrifice and service.
Days after Tyler announced he had signed with San Francisco, he and Scott hosted their second annual Prime Time Charity Casino Classic at the Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club. The poker tournament/silent auction raised money for a nonprofit organization dear to their hearts—one that helps at-risk children from low-income areas of LA. The brothers have volunteered for Team Prime Time since 2014 and this year’s Casino Classic raised nearly $50,000 for the 501(c)(3) organization.
Tyler went to LA Windward, where he set the school single-season batting average record of .619 as a junior and earned Delphic League MVP honors as a senior in 2009. He walked on at UCLA, became the Bruins’ starting catcher his junior year and earned All-Pac-12 Conference honors. He was selected in the eighth round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros and played for a number of minor league teams in the Houston, Milwaukee, Arizona and Miami organizations: the Tri-City ValleyCats, Lancaster JetHawks, Corpus Christi Hooks, Salt River Rafters, Fresno Grizzlies, Colorado Springs Sky Sox, Reno Aces and New Orleans Baby Cakes.
Tyler had three hits (including his first MLB homer off the Mets’ Zack Wheeler on Sept. 26), with two RBIs and one run scored in 11 at-bats for Miami last season.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.