LOWELL — Nick Longhi, like countless members of Red Sox Nation, remember sobbing when the Yankees’ Aaron Boone hit his infamous home run off Tim Wakefield to win the 2003 American League Championship Series.
“I think I cried myself to sleep for the next two nights,” Longhi recalled of his then 8-year-old self.
He also remembers how overjoyed he was a season later, when his beloved Sox won the Word Series, sharing that victory — and the next two world championships — with his father.
But while his past mirrors that of legions of Boston fans, the opportunity that stands before Longhi is one most could only dream of.
Raised in Florida by a family of Massachusetts natives obsessed with Boston sports, Longhi now finds himself in the uniform of the Lowell Spinners, as a slugging outfielder/first baseman chasing his dream of one day suiting up for the Red Sox.
“I am really overjoyed to be here with this team,” said the stocky 6-foot-2, 220-pounder. “It is a dream to make the big leagues, but it is something very special to make it to the bigs with the team you have rooted for all your life. That is what I want to do.”
Just 18-years-old, Longhi’s professional career is off to a fine start, roping a double and a triple for the Spinners on opening day, and through three games he already has three extra base hits.
“Nick has already grown up and matured a lot,” said Spinners manager Joe Oliver, a former major league catcher. “He is a guy with a ton of upside that I can play at first or in the outfield and hit in the middle of the order.”
Longhi was born in Springfield, Mass., to a family of lifelong Massachusetts residents. But he spent very little time there, before his family relocated to Florida.