Phillies First Baseman Brock Stassi Meets Eagles Legend Vince Papale

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Apr 23, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Brock Stassi (41) tosses to first for a out against the Atlanta Braves during the fifth inning at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 23, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Brock Stassi (41) tosses to first for a out against the Atlanta Braves during the fifth inning at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phillies first baseman Brock Stassi, whose heartwarming story touched many in baseball, met a fan of his Tuesday: Eagles legend Vince Papale.

Brock Stassi won over Phillies fans during spring training with both his success at the plate and his hardworking mindset that Philadelphia loves oh so dearly. The 2011 33rd-round pick defied the odds and made his way not only to the big-league camp in spring training but to the major-league roster once the team headed back up north.

Upon learning that he had made the major-league roster, Stassi was emotional. When interviewed by reporters, Stassi fought back tears as he talked about his accomplishment.

Video of Stassi’s interview went viral as most major sports outlets covered his story. Stassi called into Sportscenter, calling making the roster “a dream come true.”

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One person who saw the interview and felt a connection to Stassi was Philadelphia Eagles legend, Vince Papale. In 1976, Papale went to an open tryout for the Eagles and actually made the team. At 30 years old, Papale became the oldest rookie in NFL history.

Papale’s story as a walk-on for the Eagles was immortalized in the movie Invincible.

He signed a copy for Stassi, inscribing “To Brock, you are invincible” on the cover and “To Brock, we lived our dream” on a picture inside the case. Stassi said he has not watched the movie before, but now he is able to.

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Stassi and Papale now share the experience of going from a walk-on to playing at the highest level. As Ben Davis of MLB.com wrote:

"“Their respective paths to the highest level of professional sports were filled with uncertainty. Longshot doesn’t quite do either story justice.”"

Beyond being walk-ons, both also spent time as teachers. Stassi has worked as a substitute teacher during the off-season for extra money – which you need as a minor-leaguer – and Papale was a teacher before walking on to the Eagles.

Now that he is a major-leaguer, Stassi won’t have to return to that job for the time being.

Next: Nick Pivetta Coming Into MLB Hot

Stassi’s success story has spread well beyond Philadelphia, and Papale definitely took notice.

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