Indians deliver for 8-year-old fan

Published Aug. 25, 2013 1:00 a.m. ET

The Cleveland Indians may have found their good luck charm.

Before Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Twins, 8-year-old Niko Lanzarotta, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 8 months old, got to meet his favorite player, Carlos Santana. The two chatted during batting practice, took a photo together and Santana even signed his bat for the young fan, but Lanzarotta had just one request for the slugger.

“He said, ‘Hey, Carlos, can you get a home run for me?’” Santana said. “I said, ‘OK, I promise.’ It made him happy.”

Santana didn’t wait long to deliver on that promise, as he launched a home run into the right-field seats during the first inning of the game.

Lanzarotta’s work wasn’t done yet, however. Before the game he also met another one of his favorite players, Jason Kipnis, and asked if he could belt one out of the park as well. According to, the second baseman said he would try, but he did more than try as he hit a two-run shot in the third inning, his 16th of the season.

The Indians ended up winning 7-2, and the Tribe is a perfect 6-0 when the youngster is in attendance, according to The Associated Press.

“It was an awesome experience,” Niko’s father, Mike Lanzarotta, said. “It was the best day of his life. To meet Carlos, to be that close, and for him to hit a home run. … To see your kid that happy is a great thing.”


Check out a photo of the Lanzarotta family with Santana below.