ST. PETERSBURG — Hanging in the front of Jake Faria's locker before Thursday's season opener against the Red Sox was the striped shirt Joe Faria wore to work so many times at the garage he owned that the grease and grim stains will never come out.
Jake Faria takes the shirt with him each season and leaves it hanging in his locker in the home clubhouse.
"It's my grandpa's," Faria said. "He's my hero."
Joe Faria came to America from Portugal when he was 17 and found work as a janitor. He eventually got a job at a garage, where he learned to work on cars. Eventually, Joe Faria saved enough money to buy half of the business. Then all of it.
He also dabbled in real estate, owning several apartment complexes.
When Joe died in February 2014, Faria was allowed to go through his closet and take anything he wanted.
"That was one of the shirts that was in there, so I took it and I take it with me," Faria, who made his first opening day roster this year, said.
The oil- and grease-stained shirt is a symbol of what you can achieve if you work hard.
The American Dream.
"(Joe) always said his dream was see our name on the back of a big league jersey," Faria said.
That became a reality on June 7, 2017 when Faria received his first call-up to the big leagues.
Contact Roger Mooney at [email protected] Follow @rogermooney50