EDINBURG — McAllen High senior Abanny Garcia is the embodiment of the American dream.
He moved to McAllen from Tamaulipas, Mexico, when he was 7. His mother Irma Garcia had been working in McAllen prior to the move and was ready to welcome his son into their new home. Abanny didn’t have much of a relationship with his father, so when he moved it was he and his mom ready to face the challenges of a new environment together.
Soon, Irma introduced Abanny to her boyfriend, Luis Prado. At first he was just a friend, as far as Abanny knew, but soon enough he became Abanny’s stepdad.
“It took about a year or two to get used to him, and call him ‘Dad’ and just treat him like a dad,” Abanny said. “After that I really felt like I had a father. I felt that love that everyone has when they are raised. We developed that father-son bond.”
The bond grew from the sport of baseball. Prado played when Abanny was growing up, and Abanny loved watching Prado play. He would make Irma stay at the games every Sunday, even when she was ready to go, because he wanted to see every play Prado made.
At 7, Abanny began practicing baseball, but he didn’t play in his first game until he was 9, and by then he was already a standout.
Prado worked long 12-hour days, and had very little time off. But, Prado would skip a lunch break, instead meeting Abanny at a park to play catch. That sacrifice registered on the youngster.
“I felt special in a way,” Abanny said. “He took time out of his day to come and spend it with me.”
Eventually Abanny got to McAllen Rowe for his freshman year and earned a spot on the varsity baseball roster.
“At the beginning as a freshman, you get there you don’t have many friends,” Abanny said. “I joined the baseball program, and that is where I started getting along with the kids and developing some chemistry. And then, as a freshman, when you make varsity, you kind of stand out a little bit. After that I started having some senior friends, junior friends, and all around. It was pretty amazing. It felt cool that people paid attention to you as a freshman being on varsity and showing off your skills.”
Before his junior year, Rowe was in flux and Abanny didn’t like the vibe he was getting from his new team after a lot of graduations, so he decided to transfer to McAllen High.
It was an instant fit, and Abanny had found his home. His career at McAllen High proved how special he is on the field. He was the undeniable ace on the most talent-laden roster in the Valley.
This year, Abanny pitched 54.1 innings, striking out 77 and posting a 1.16 ERA. For his efforts on the mound, Abanny Garcia is The Monitor’s 2018 All-Area Baseball Pitcher of the Year.
When he is not on the mound, he plays at first and he is always in the middle of the lineup. This season, he hit .412 with 29 RBIs and 37 runs. He hit 13 doubles and four bombs.
Ever since Abanny was seven, he and Prado would have long talks about reaching Division I baseball and potentially even going pro. Baseball has been Abanny’s dream from the moment he got to McAllen. With Irma and Prado’s help, love and support, Abanny was able to turn those dreams into a reality.
During the summer of his junior year, Abanny was offered a full scholarship from UTRGV.
The moment they got the word, the family rejoiced in unison.
“(My parents) just shed tears, man. Coming from a Mexican family, coming over here, it’s just amazing,” Abanny said fighting back emotion himself. “They teared up a little bit. This is what you come here for. You come here play college ball. Just have a better life.”