Pacific’s Guardado inspired by father's major-league success

Jakob Guardado '25 pitching for the Tigers.

Jakob Guardado '25 pitching for the Tigers.

University of the Pacific baseball’s Jakob Guardado ’25 has found a home with the Tigers, returning to Stockton where it all started for his father Eddie Guardado, a former Minnesota Twins relief pitcher and team Hall of Famer.

“As I was growing up, around that five to nine age, I remembered watching my father’s games,” Jakob Guardado said. “He was adamant that I do something that I love, and it just happened to be baseball.”

Watching his son play brings a mixture of nerves and excitement for Eddie Guardado.

“I’m more nervous watching him play than when I played,” he said. “Being born here for myself, to play at Pacific, it’s very exciting for our family. I’m glad he wanted to come back to Stockton and his old roots. The support he gets from the whole family is really great.” 

After two seasons at Pasadena City College, Jakob Guardado, a Tustin, California native, decided to join the Tigers this year, which was an easy choice for him and his family.

"Having a lot of family nearby was a big factor," Jakob Guardado said. "There is a lot of support here and that ultimately helped me choose to become a Tiger. It is a full circle feeling."

He started playing baseball at the age of three and attended his father’s Major League Baseball games, learning from some of the best in the league.

“He learned from not only me, but Torii Hunter, LaTroy Hawkins, David Ortiz, I could go down the line,” Eddie Guardado said. “When Jakob got older, we stayed after the games until 1 in the morning, hitting in the cages and hanging out in the locker rooms. That for me was the easy part, but teaching him the hours and the dedication is not a joke. I always remind him it’s his journey, but I am always here to help him.”

Jakob Guardado '25 makes contact with the ball.

Jakob Guardado '25 makes contact with the ball.

Eddie Guardado, who now serves as special assistant to the general manager of the Los Angeles Angels, has attended nearly all his son’s starts at Pacific. Every game, there is a member of the Guardado family watching their star shine as a two-way player.

Pacific head coach Chris Rodriguez has called upon Jakob to pitch as a starting pitcher, in addition to penciling him into the lineup as an outfielder with a strong bat.

"Jakob has developed into a true two-way player," Rodriguez said. "He is a fierce competitor on the mound and in the box. On the mound, Jakob has shown his ability to compete in the strike zone with multiple pitches. At the plate, Jakob can hit the ball to all fields. He brings a strong left-handed bat into the line-up with his strike awareness."

Jakob Guardado knows he has big shoes to fill, but his dad’s guidance has helped him develop on and off the field.

“Jakob is a mini-me,” Eddie Guardado said. “He’s quiet, reserved and goes about his work. I know baseball is in his DNA. I know he’s got a lot of work ahead of him, but the number one thing I’ve taught him is to be humble and to be respectful. The most important thing is the choices you make, the education you get and the person you are.”