Andrew is the son of Kevin Romine, a former Arizona State all-American and seven-year Major League outfielder.
Andrew's brother, Austin, is a catcher for the Yankees. (2017)
When Romine was just five years old, he was hiding in the lockers at Fenway Park and playing with the children of Wade Boggs and Roger Clemens, he might have taken baseball for granted. His father, Kevin, had been in the big leagues for stretches with the Red Sox since Andrew was born, and this was all he knew.
"I never realized how good a thing it was to be a baseball player," the younger Romine said. "I just grew up throwing the ball around thinking this is what every kid gets to do. I did not understand how great a thing this was." (Aaron Fitt-Baseball America-2/21/07)
- Andrew committed to Arizona State in 2004, his senior year at Trabuco Hills High School in Lake Forest, California.
In 2004, Romine was drafted by the Phillies #36, out of Trabuco Hills High School in Lake Forest, California, but did not sign. Instead, Andrew chose to accept the scholarship from Arizona State, taking over for Dustin Pedroia, who signed with the Red Sox.
Andrew chose uniform #12, the same number his Dad wore for the Sun Devils in 1981-82. (Andrew was born on Christmas Eve in 1985, just three months after his Dad made his Major League debut with the Boston Red Sox.)
In 2009, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Romine as the 22nd-best prospect in the Angels organization. They had him at #26 in the spring of 2010. He was up at #17 in the winter before 2011 spring training. But he was back down at #25 in the offseason before 2012 spring camps opened. And he was at #20 in the spring of 2013.
- Andrew likes to play Ping Pong. And he does yoga.
- Asked what player from the past he'd most like to meet, Andrew said it would be Rogers Hornsby or Ozzie Smith.
- Romine has a few baseball superstitions, kissing his bat being among them.
- Andrew is a solid citizen, was a great student and is a fine athlete with excellent work ethic. He is intense and bright.
- The first time Andrew Romine took the field against his younger brother Austin, familiar familial trash talk filled the base paths. They were playing in an Arizona Fall League a few years ago when Andrew, a speedy switch-hitter, stepped into the batter’s box and, from behind the plate, heard Austin say, “You better steal if you get on.”
Andrew reached base and then narrowly beat out Austin's throw on his attempt to take second. Andrew stood and looked back toward home plate.
“I’m standing on second base looking in and he won’t look at me,” Andrew said. “I get back up the next time and he says, ‘Double or nothing.’”
The older brother again got a hit and again successfully stole second.
“I go home and the whole time I’m all giddy," Andrew recalled. "I’m excited to walk in the door. I open the door and he’s sitting on the couch playing video games. He won’t look at me; he’s just staring at the screen. I stop in the doorway. He pushes pause, and he looks over at me and says, ‘Don’t you say a word.’”
It is that competitive drive, paired with an unwavering support system at home, that has propelled the brothers to continue their family-wide love of baseball. It is a tradition that originated with their dad, Kevin, who played for the Boston Red Sox from 1985-91.
Since facing each other in that fall league game several years ago, Andrew and Austin have taken their love for the game and turned it into a rare and spectacular accomplishment, each following in their dad's footsteps to the Majors.
Their father, Kevin Romine, began his path to the Majors at the Little League level. He later helped the Sun Devils win a national championship at Arizona State University before landing in the shadows of the Green Monster. He was a Boston outfielder for seven seasons, retiring with a career batting average of .251 and a career fielding average of .980.
The most important part of this journey, however, came when Kevin and his wife June married and started their family. First came Janelle, followed by the boys, and then Rebecca.
"Being married and having a family gave me a strong foundation and a perspective on what really matters in the overall picture," Kevin said. "They grounded me and provided incentive to succeed."
He added that his strongest baseball memories include his family and date back to his time in the minor leagues.
"When I would come out of the locker room after a game and my wife and kids would be there to meet me with a smile on their faces," he said, "it didn't matter whether or not we won or lost or if I had a good or bad day. There they were (with) unconditional love."
In return, his kids were early fans of the game. Janelle remains a "die-hard Red Sox fan" and Andrew still recalls stories of his Dad's days in Boston.
"(We were) running around in Fenway, shagging baseballs while they're hitting BP," he said. "I was too young to remember most of it, but I get stories from my Dad about climbing into Wade Boggs’ locker and hiding underneath his clothes and jumping out and scaring him. I get stories about hanging out around Roger Clemens and guys who are going to be legends of the game."
From the very beginning, there was no question the Romine boys would play baseball. (Elaine Thompson - Associated Press - 7/09/13)
After the 2013 season Romine knew he needed to bulk up. And so, while on a flight with his wife, Kathryn, who just so happens to be a fitness trainer and nutritionist, the two mapped out a workout regimen and diet that would ultimately add 20 pounds of lean body mass to Romine's frame, putting the 6-foot-1 infielder at 200 pounds by the time he arrived for Spring Training.
"She did the shopping," Romine said, "because I knew I wouldn't buy the healthy stuff."
Romine is a prime candidate to win the 2014 Angels' utility-infield job for a second straight year, and he is hoping it turns out different this time around. This offseason, Romine lifted weights from the start and ate five full meals a day -- which isn't all that fun when everything you eat is healthy.
"A lot of people don't realize that because it's such a long season, we're breaking down throughout the whole season," Romine said. "It's nearly impossible to build strength during the season, so it's basically come in and try to maintain where you're at. So I was thinking if I came in heavier and a little bit stronger, then I can maintain."
Romine's edge comes from his speed—one he doesn't feel he's lost despite the added weight. (3/10/14)
- There's a room in Romine's house. Most people would call it an office. The shortstop calls it his "I love me" room. It's adorned with different mementos from his playing career. And he may have found its new crown jewel in May 2014.
The switch-hitting Romine is in the Tigers' lineup for his glove and not his bat. But on May 23, 2014, Austin lined a pitch out to deep right field for his first Major League home run!
"I knew that it was hard enough," Romine said. "I just didn't know if it was going to stay fair. I was thinking, 'God, that ball better stay fair.'" It did stay fair, colliding with the foul pole. Romine had himself his first career home run in his 236th career at-bat. And, perhaps more importantly, he had the newest souvenir for his special room.
"That's going right up on the wall," Romine said. (5/23/14)
Andrew and Austin Romine spent one year as teammates on their high school baseball team. They shared the field once in the Arizona Fall League, too. But March 15, 2015 was a first for the Romine brothers.
For the first time, the two Romines played in the same game as members of a Major League team in the Yankees' 4-1 split-squad win over the Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Andrew went 0-for-1 with a walk while playing left field for Detroit, and Austin finished 1-for-3 as New York's starting catcher.
"It was fun," Austin said. "It was really fun."
Andrew walked to the plate and patted his brother on the back before his first plate appearance. But each Romine had a slightly different story about what was said when Andrew stepped up to the plate in the third inning.
According to Andrew, 29, all he said was, "Hi. When I got in the box, he was still talking," Andrew said. "And I told him, 'All right, that's enough, stop talking. Get out of my head.'"
According to Austin, 26, what Andrew actually said was, "Hi, little brother."
"You're going to put me down like that?" Austin said afterward. "I think he politely told me to shut up one time. Hey man, if I can get in your head like that, you're closer to getting out than getting a hit."
Andrew actually drew a walk in that at-bat, becoming the only player to get on base during Yankees starter Michael Pineda's three innings of work. But Andrew was quickly picked off base and caught in a rundown. Austin was a little upset about the play, but not because he wanted to see his big brother get to second base.
"I wanted him to go so I could throw him out and I could rag him for it," Austin said. "He's got the bragging rights right now because he stole twice against me in the Fall League. I was itching for him to go, but [bullpen coach Gary] Tuck saw something and called a pick. I was just like, 'Tuck, come on!'" (Adam Berry - MLB.cm - March 14, 2015)
April 8, 2016: Part of Austin Romine's daily preparation involves studying each player on the opposing roster, just in case they should enter the game. When Andrew Romine came off the Tigers' bench in the eighth inning, the Yankees catcher was finally able to call on a lifetime of research.
The Romine brothers appeared in the same Major League game during the 4-0 Tigers victory at Comerica Park, with Austin behind the plate for the Yankees and Andrew entering to pinch-run for the Tigers' Nick Castellanos. Peering between the metal bars of his mask, Austin said that he was focusing more on the situation than the novelty of the moment.
"I'm thinking he's quick and he might steal, either first or second pitch," Austin said. "The brother thing goes out the window during the game. We're both trying to do jobs. I take that he's my brother out of the equation. He's No. 17."
There were other numbers in the equation. Though tempted to steal on his younger brother, Andrew did not budge, which had more to do with Yankees righthander Luis Cessa's ability to hold runners.
"It was cool," Andrew said. "I had a stop sign. I wanted to go, but he was like a 1.2 [seconds to the plate]."Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Andrew did not have the green light to steal. "It had nothing to do with his brother," Ausmus said. "It had more to do with how fast the pitcher was to the plate, although his brother has a good arm."
Austin was tempted to snap a throw down to first base, but resisted, and said that he was surprised his brother did not attempt to steal.
"I was, but you know, up 4-0, I know Cessa has a quick time to the plate," Romine said. "When the math adds up, if I'm throwing a 1.9, he's throwing a 1.2, he'd have to be pretty quick to get to second base. So there's having fun and stealing and playing the game the right way.
"He plays the game the right way, the Tigers play the game the right way, we play the game the right way. It's fun, but at the end of the day, it's business. We're playing against each other and I'm trying to win, so if he's stealing, I'm throwing him out." (B Hoch - MLB.com - April 9, 2016)
Andrew and Austin Romine don't have many memories of big league clubhouses. They were very young when their dad was a Boston Red Sox outfielder, though he remembers it pretty vividly.
"I had a locker next to Wade Boggs," Kevin Romine said, "and Wade had probably 50 pairs of shoes that he used to keep in his locker at a time. And Andrew started hiding under the shoes. He probably was 4 years old. He would hide in Wade's shoes, and every time after a game, we'd come back in the locker room and Wade would always have to act surprised when Andrew would pop out of his shoes."
Andrew vaguely remembers. "I hid in people's lockers," he said. "I'd take the whole bucket of bubble gum and leave with it."
Now, they're celebrating their dad's retirement -- from his second career. And after 21 years as a Los Angeles police detective, Kevin is looking forward to getting back to the ballpark and making Major League memories with his kids. It's about a big career transition, but for Kevin, it came at a crossroads. Injuries were eating away at the athleticism that made him a second-round pick in 1980. The struggle of starting over after knee surgery wasn't worth it with three young children at home. So he retired at 30.
"I had a good buddy who was a cop and I started thinking about it," he said. "It's good pay. It's got a good pension. It's got good benefits. They don't shoot at you a whole lot. The adrenaline rush is a little bit like baseball. I applied to L.A., and six months later I was in their academy. The rest is history."
Andrew and Austin were already ballplayer's kids. Being a policeman's kids had an impact on them as well. "I have tremendous respect for what he did," Austin said. "I remember him getting up at 4:00 in the morning and driving an hour and a half to L.A. to work all day, and somehow still made it home by 5:00 to catch our games. I remember when he worked graveyard shifts in South Central Los Angeles. It's a scary situation, and I have a very big respect for the men and women of law enforcement, because my father has done it for so long."
They grew up near Angel Stadium, but they weren't around big league ballparks every day anymore. Still, baseball was in their blood. Kevin set up a batting cage in their yard, and became a coach in their youth leagues.
"Basically, when you get home, it was, 'Did you do your homework? And did you take your swings in the cage?' We spent hours out there," Andrew said. "If we weren't hitting in the cage, we were messing around in the cage, doing other baseball stuff." They were brothers, yet from a young age, they were individuals. Andrew was a switch-hitting shortstop. Austin was a right-handed power hitter who caught and played first base. They were both standouts, but in their own way.
"Austin was bigger at a younger age, therefore he excelled," Kevin said. "When he was 14 years old, he was playing Connie Mack, and he was catching high school seniors at 14. And Andrew's always been a superior defender."
Asked who was better growing up, Andrew paused. "Who's the better athlete? I'm the better athlete," he said. "Who's the better baseball player? He's definitely the better baseball player."
They were three years apart in age, but they had one year as teammates -- Andrew a senior shortstop at Trabuco Hills High School, Austin a first baseman and catcher who cracked the varsity roster as a freshman.
"I would come in and close when he was catching, so I actually got to pitch to him," Andrew said. "He'll still hold it over my head he threw one mile an hour harder than me."
And yes, the older brother jokes that kid brother had it easy. "I got all the arguments," Andrew said. "My dad and I would sit there and argue." Said Austin: "You have to remember, he was a switch-hitter at the time, so they were trying to focus on two sides of the plate. My dad just knew I wanted to hit the ball as hard as I could."
Austin became a high school standout, while Andrew starred at Arizona State, his father's alma mater. Neither had it easy following in dad's footsteps. Andrew didn't stick in the Majors for good until 2014, when the Tigers traded for him as an extra infielder. Austin was a second-round pick, but in a Yankees farm system stacked with catching prospects. Yet they had their moments. When Austin made his Major League debut for the Yankees in September 2011, they were in Anaheim, where Andrew was on his third callup.
"There's a video of when I made my debut in Anaheim," Austin said. "My brother was in the dugout, and the video shows my dad tearing up." The Romine brothers want more moments like that for their dad. That's why they're so excited about his retirement, maybe more so than he is. All of which makes this year's Father's Day special.
"I want to hear [my dad] say, 'I'm bored.' I've never heard him say that before in my life," Andrew said. His younger brother has been trying to get Kevin to a game for a while.
"I'm looking forward to flying his butt out to every game he wants to come to," Austin said. "The guy hasn't been able to go to all the games he wants to go. Baseball's in his blood, whether he wants to admit it or not."
Kevin admits it. "They play the game the way the game's supposed to be played. I'm proud of that," Kevin said. "They have ethics. They play with passion. I mean, there's nothing better than to see both of them make it." (Jason Beck - MLB.com - June 16, 2016)
June 17, 2016: Andrew was called upon to pitch. It was the second career outing for Romine, who pitched in a game two years ago under similar circumstances. The switch-hitting middle infielder, who has added positions during his Tigers tenure, was a relief pitcher on his high school team in California, where he threw to younger brother Austin Romine.
That was a long time ago. Andrew Romine's fastball now reaches the upper 80s, complemented by a knuckleball that he struggles to command but can get to dance around the plate.
Romine was the fifth reliever the Tigers used on Saturday. He was essentially the emergency option if Mark Lowe, the setup man Ausmus is trying to get back to form after early-season struggles, couldn't finish the eighth. While Lowe began the inning, Romine began warming in the batting cage. Once Lowe gave up six straight one-out singles to stretch the deficit to double digits, Ausmus pulled his emergency option with two men on.
Romine walked Jarrod Dyson on five pitches to load the bases, then got a fielder's choice ground ball from Cheslor Cuthbert to score one of the runners he inherited. Another walk to Whit Merrifield loaded the bases again before Romine induced an inning-ending groundout from Christian Colon.
Thus, two years after Romine's three-run inning, he was the only Tigers pitcher not charged with a run on Saturday. It was Romine's seventh position played this season, joining all four infield positions, center and right field.
Romine is also the Tigers' emergency catcher, which is why he'll sneak behind the plate between innings every once in a while to warm up a pitcher. He would like to play all nine positions in a game at some point in his career, something just four players have done in modern history. The last was a Tiger, Shane Halter, on the final day of the 2000 season, a game Ausmus played in. (Jason Beck - MLB)
In 2016, Andrew Romine played every position but catcher as the Tigers' super-utility player. He was selected as the winner of the 2016 Bill McAdam Tenth Man Award by the Detroit Baseball Society.
The 30-year-old Romine entered the 2016 season as a utility infielder and emergency catcher who could play the outfield in a pinch. He ended up as a fill-in shortstop, center fielder, second baseman and third baseman, playing at least 10 games at five different positions. Add in late-inning appearances in right and left field and a mop-up appearance at pitcher. (J Beck - MLB.com - Nov 2016)
Sept 30, 2017: Andrew Romine has spent four seasons working in relative obscurity as a superutility player on a star-studded Tigers roster. But on this date Manager Brad Ausmus gave him his day in the spotlight, and pretty much everywhere else on the field. In the Tigers' 3-2 win over the Twins, Romine became the fifth player in Major League history to play all nine positions in a game, and the first since former Tiger Shane Halter did it on the final day of the 2000 season against the Twins at Comerica Park
"It made things light. It made things fun," Romine said. "We had something to look forward to. If it didn't happen in Detroit, I'm glad it happened here, because these fans, they respect sports, they respect other teams. It was fun to see the way that they acknowledged it. And when they said something, I got to acknowledge the fans, acknowledge the other dugout, to say thank you for letting me do that. I couldn't think of another place that would've been better than this, other than Detroit." Others to play all nine positions include Bert Campaneris (Sept. 8, 1965), Cesar Tovar (Sept. 22, 1968) and Scott Sheldon (Sept. 6, 2000). No Major Leaguer had played all nine positions in a game since Halter, though Buster Posey did it in college at Florida State in 2008.
Ausmus was the Tigers catcher the day Halter played all nine, and ended up playing at third, second and first base along the way. He first talked with Romine about the idea two years ago, then revisited it this summer as the Tigers' postseason hopes faded. "I think it meant a lot to him," Ausmus said. "He's not a guy that wants or gets a lot of attention. He's unique in the sense that he can play pretty much anywhere, and you feel comfortable with him there, except that you don't want him to pitch or catch. It gives him kind of a day in the sun, so to speak."
Ausmus originally planned to play Romine at all nine spots on the last day of the season, but moved it up a day when the weather forecast showed an increasing chance of rain in Minneapolis. He had sketched out a plan on how to move Romine along, position by position, as the game went along, plus all the moves other players would have to make to make room. "I think it was a little trickier tonight, because it was a close game," Ausmus said.
Romine started the game in left field. He did not stay there long:First inning, LF: Romine had a busy first inning behind Tigers starter Buck Farmer, running down a Zack Granite line drive to begin the inning before catching an Eddie Rosario fly ball for the second out. He fielded Miguel Sano's ground-ball single, holding Joe Mauer at third base.
Second inning, CF: Romine shifted to center, bumping JaCoby Jones to right as Alex Presley shifted sides to left. Romine did not get any activity there, though he singled at the plate in the top of the inning and broke the news to Mauer. "He didn't know we were doing it today," Romine said. "He thought we were doing it tomorrow, because I hadn't rotated yet. He just said, 'That's really cool.' I said, 'Got any pointers for catching?' And he said, 'You'll be fine.' That's what everybody said."
Third inning, RF: Romine and Jones traded spots for the third, with Romine fielding Rosario's ground-ball single.
Fourth inning, 3B: Ausmus started Nicholas Castellanos at third base -- his old position -- so they could make this swap, switching spots with Romine, who tracked down Eduardo Escobar's popup in foul territory.
Fifth inning, SS: Jeimer Candelario pinch-hit for Jose Iglesias in the top of the inning so they could put Candelario at third when Romine shifted over to shortstop. Romine turned a nice double play with second baseman Dixon Machado on Jorge Polanco to erase Mauer's leadoff walk. "Watching him, you're thinking, 'Man, it's a blessing to be able to play positions,'" Canderlario said. "It's an experience. You see this guy and you say, 'Wow, this guy can play everywhere, even catcher.' It's impressive, and for him, it's awesome. I like him, and he's a good guy, too."
Sixth inning, 2B: Romine and Machado simply traded spots for this one, with no activity Romine's way.
Seventh inning, C/2B: This is when it grew really interesting, since Romine had never caught in a regular-season game. Ausmus said he was going to play it by ear when to catch Romine, making sure he would get a pitcher who's easy to catch. He caught Blaine Hardy, with catcher Bryan Holaday moving to second base, but it wasn't easy.
"I'm really glad the Twins didn't pick up on this: Doc [Holaday] was at second base and he was giving little hand signals to kind of give him an idea of what [pitch] to call," Hardy said. "It was definitely a moment I'll always remember."
Once Granite singled home Ehire Adrianza, the potential tying run was on first base. Granite advanced to second when a Hardy pitch deflected off Romine's mitt -- a hand-me-down from his brother, Yankees catcher Austin Romine -- for a passed ball. Once Granite was in scoring position, James McCann -- who started at DH -- moved behind the plate, with Romine moving back to second base. "It speeds up, man," Romine said. "When runners get on and things start happening, you don't want to put the wrong finger down. I had nightmares of putting down something and then they hit a home run."
Eighth inning, P/1B: Ausmus planned on Romine pitching the seventh or eighth. He wasn't planning on a difficult situation. But wanting Romine to pitch with nobody on base, he used him to begin the eighth against Sano.
"We joked," McCann said, "and we said, 'Just throw below the hitting speed. Whatever you do, don't get it up to 90.'" Now pitching, Andrew Romine gets Miguel Sano to ground out to third, only needing to play first base to complete playing all nine positions. Romine fell behind on a 3-1 count, but retired Sano on a ground ball to third on an 85 mph fastball. "The first pitch bounced about halfway," Romine said. "I thought maybe I'd just lob one over the plate and get a quick strike, but I didn't even make it there. So then the next one I tried to throw a little harder, which I threw about halfway to the plate again. So I figured I can't walk the guy on four straight, I should probably just throw one down the middle, got one over and then he ended up topping one."
After that, Romine moved to first base, completing the nine, as the crowd at Target Field gave him a standing ovation. "It got me a little bit teary-eyed to see that they recognized it," Romine said. "I didn't expect that. I didn't really even think that they were even going to talk about it. For them to do that and acknowledge that was really special. I can't thank them enough."
Ninth inning, 1B: For the first time, Romine didn't move, staying at first base for defense. And like the first out of the night, Romine was there to retire Granite, fielding a hard-hit grounder to finish off the win. "Once I got done with the circus that we had going on, I was really just [thinking], 'Let's get this save,'" Romine said. "It was huge to get a W in the process of doing it." (Jason Beck - MLB.com - Sept 30, 2017)
June 2007: Andrew signed with the Angels for a bonus of $128,000 after they chose him in the 5th round, out of Arizona State. John Gracio is the scout who signed him.
March 21, 2014: The Tigers acquired Romine from the Angels, sending LHP Jose Alvarez to L.A.
January 14, 2016: The Tigers have avoided arbitration with infielder Andrew Romine, agreeing to terms on a one-year contract worth a $900,000 base salary, plus $25,000 in incentives based on games played. The value of the pact is $1.3 million.
- Jan 13, 2017: Romine and the Tigers avoided arbitration by signing a one-year contract worth $1.3 million.