Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

Helfand: “early June start appears out of picture”

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:37 PM
Full topic ›

Good Cuts.

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:15 PM
Mark Salas blocked the heck outta that plate.  
Full topic ›

Recent Baseball America Milb Organization Rankings

Twins Minor League Talk Yesterday, 09:33 PM
Since I'm not giving everything away, assuming it's OK to just mention the Twins here. BA ranks the Twins 8th going in to the 2020 season...
Full topic ›

Athletic article on the 2019 postseason baseball

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:11 AM
For those who have a subscription to the Athletic, there is a very interesting article I saw that was a deep dive into the 2019 postseaso...
Full topic ›

Get to know each other

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 05:48 PM
I did this once about 2-3 years ago, but it was during the offseason and well, it's been a long time ago... Let's get to know each other...
Full topic ›

Eddie Guardado: One Proud Papa

As I’m writing this, it's a Wednesday night which means I am watching an all-new episode of the Party of Five reboot on Freeform. At Twins Fest last month, I had a chance to sit down and chat with Twins Hall of Famer Eddie Guardado on a couple of occasions and talk about a number of topics including his family, Party of Five, and also The Eddie Guardado Foundation.
Image courtesy of Jesse Johnson, USA Today
Eddie Guardado was the Minnesota Twins 21st-round draft pick in 1990 out of San Joaquin Delta College. He moved up the Twins minor league system as a starting pitcher and debuted in June of 1993. He played for the Twins from 1993 through the 2003 season and then returned in an August 2008 trade from the Rangers.

"Everyday Eddie" got his nickname in 1996 when he pitched in 83 games for the Twins. He became a reliable bullpen arm, and late in 2001, he became the team’s closer. In 2002 and 2003, he combined to record 86 saves and was an All-Star both years. He played six more major-league seasons, spending time with the Mariners, Reds, Rangers and a short stint with the Twins. In total, he pitched in 908 MLB games (24th all-time, a spot he won’t fall from for at least a few years).

In 2013, Guardado became a member of the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame. When Rod Carew and Dave St. Peter called to give him the news, he was shocked. It was completely unexpected. “Rod, is this a joke? I was so ecstatic. I called my wife and told her. It’s a privilege, just look at the names that have come through here. I’m honored just to sit next to them.”

Guardado was the Twins bullpen coach from 2015 through 2018.

That’s the stuff that Twins fans already know about Eddie Guardado. As we sat there talking, I found myself chuckling, thinking to myself, I’m talking parenting and parental pride with Twins Hall of Famer Eddie Guardado. And wow, Eddie’s pride in his family was easy to see and hear.


Last spring, the first episode of the Get to Know ‘Em podcast was an interview with Guardado’s eldest son, Niko Guardado, who had just been cast into one of the lead roles on the new Party of Five television show.

One of Niko’s first stories in that podcast was about how before he could go out on the field (before games at the Metrodome) and play and shag fly balls, he had to do some work in the clubhouse.

Eddie said, “That’s just being a parent. It’s trying to teach the right things. It’s not always this glorious in life. You come to the ballpark. Your dad puts on a big-league uniform. He plays baseball for a living. It’s not like that for everybody. It’s life lessons.”

So Niko and his siblings had to clean shoes, fold towels and other jobs in the clubhouse. Eddie noted, “Niko could come in (the clubhouse today) and be hired. He’d know what he was doing.”

Patrick Mahomes did the same. Torii Hunter’s sons did some jobs in the clubhouse. And those kids are finding success as well in their fields and their lives. Niko’s field happens to be in front of a camera.

“Niko’s done a great job. He has been doing this for a long time.”

His first job was in the Twin Cities doing a Target billboard at age two.


It was late in 2001 when the Guardado family moved to Anaheim. After the Twins playoff series ended at the hands of Adam Kennedy and the eventual World Series champion Angels, Guardado drove his car back to Anaheim.

“I get home. I took Niko to school, which I loved. All of a sudden, on every corner, there’s a rally monkey. Really! Really!”


In the Get to Know ‘Em podcast with Niko Guardado, he told us that he remembers the day that he and Eddie had a chat, and Niko said he wanted to be an actor instead of a baseball player.

Eddie remembers it too. “I will never forget it. Those were life lessons for me too as a parent. I remember it clearly.”

Guardado recalls a story of going to one of his son’s fall ball games and watching Niko pitch at age 10 or 11. He was walking guys left and right. “Walking the bases like a merry-go-round has to stop.”

Eddie came out to the mound to take his son out of the game.

“I looked back, and he had tears in his eyes.”

After the game, they got in the car, Eddie said, “Hey mijo, let me ask you a question. Do you like baseball or do you love baseball?”

Niko responded, “I like baseball.”

Eddie said, “But you don’t love it.”

“No, but I like it.”

“See, the difference is, I love baseball. But you’re not dad. You’re you. You have to find your own path. Don’t play because dad’s playing, to make me proud. I’m proud of you no matter what. You’re my son. I’m proud of you.”

He continued, “Do you really want to play this game? You don’t have to. You do what you want to do. He told me ‘No’. Alright then, but you’re going to do something.”

And then the tears flowed for both Guardados. Eddie admitted, “Made me tear up. I had to pull the car over. I’ll never forget that.”

Niko found something to do. “Then he took on acting, and he did it.”


Another lesson Niko said that he learned from his father was that you’re not going to have your best stuff every day. You’re going to have bad games, and you have to bounce back from them. Likewise, Niko learned that there can be a lot of tough days in the audition process, a lot of rejections.

Eddie said, “It’s worse than baseball.”

So when Niko started getting jobs and being on TV, it was another source of pride for Eddie and his whole family.

“We watch every episode. We record every episode. It’s a proud moment, no matter what role it was. When he first started it was a little bit, and then it started picking up a tad. It’s like starting in rookie ball and then moving up to Elizabethton, Tennessee. You made a step forward.”

Some of those appearances don’t even show up on the Internet Movie Database.

Eddie recalls,“His first one... he was on Santa Clause 2, in the background. Oh, there he is, and we were so excited. Two seconds.”

But Niko kept working, kept going to auditions, and kept getting opportunities.

“(He) kept going forward. Pushing. Pushing. Started getting more parts. The Goldbergs. He started getting a bunch of commercials.”

Niko continued to mature. He understood when he didn’t get the roles he hoped for. It was still frustrating, but there were also successes. And when he found those successes, Eddie was there to provide him with some words that Twins fans remember hearing often from Tom Kelly.

“He’s older. He’s got more confidence. He’s learning. There are aspects of failure, or the good in it. No matter what, stay even keel. Don’t get too high. Don’t get too low. And NEVER forget who you are.” Eddie continued, “I think as a parent, you see him on TV, it’s like wow! You have a major role. I’m so proud. My wife is so proud. His brother, and his sister are so proud.”


The pilot for Party of Five and Episode 2 aired on Freeform on January 8th. A few days earlier, Niko and the rest of the Party of Five cast went to New York City for an appearance on Good Morning America.

While there, Niko walked through Time Square. He recalled (on his instagram story) walking through Time Square a decade earlier after a Twins playoff loss to the Yankees and thinking, “Someday, I’ll be up on one of those billboards.”

He looked up, and there it was.

Posted Image
courtesy Niko Guardado's Instagram

Eddie shook his head as he recalled the story, clearly emotional and clearly filled with pride. When they talked on the phone after that moment, Eddie told him what you would expect a father to tell his son…

“Keep that mentality. As a parent, you always have to stress to keep it right here (even-keeled). Good for you. When I hung up, I was just like ‘Oh my.”


In the original Party of Five, five children were left parent-less after a car accident took their parents’ lives. In the new Party of Five, the five Acosta children see their parents deported to Mexico. It is a subject that hits close to home for Eddie Guardado.

“That’s what really is going on in life. I’m Mexican. My parents are from Mexico. My dad came over, worked in the fields. One of the first scenes of the show, when they get deported, it reminded me of my dad. My dad didn’t get deported, but I can imagine. We didn’t go through that. But that really hit home because it’s happening. Imagine your kids are taken away from you. I’d go crazy. That’s just the way it is.”

The families of the cast and crew were able to come to the studio and watch the premiere episode in a theater weeks before it aired on television.

“I was bawling. I’m not going to lie. We were all in a theater in the studio. We got a peak of it. I needed tissues. All you heard was whimpering. Mijo, you did good. It was good.”

Party of Five is on at 8:00 central time Wednesday nights on Freeform. “Wednesday is a special day. Everybody gets home. I cook dinner, and we watch.”

“The show is a good hit. It’s life, and it’s good.”


Speaking of pride, Eddie is very proud of his wife, Lisa.

“We don’t talk about them (wives/moms). We talk about me. We talk about Niko. Nobody talks about wives, which we should do more. I’ve been married 25 years. Same high school. Same neighborhood. Same upbringing. Couldn't have picked a better lady. There’s no better lady. She has done a fabulous job.”


Eddie is also very proud of his son Jakob, who is a high school senior.

“He loves baseball.”

“Dad, can we go hit? Let’s do it! Couple guys, can you throw to them? I enjoy that! It’s like a little mini-spring training. Four or five guys I work out, and I love it.”


Eight years ago, Eddie and Lisa Guardado kicked off the Eddie Guardado Foundation. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children with autism and their families. The Guardado’s youngest child, Ava, was diagnosed with autism in 2008.

“We try to help families that can’t afford therapy for their kids. Just put a little into their life because it’s not easy. My wife came up with the idea. We raise good money. That might be the best part of what I’ve done in my life. Obviously my kids first. I love them. But beside them, making a phone call to give a person an iPad, or build a fence around their yard so that their kid can go out and play. To hear these people cry on the other end. I’m tearing up. Probably the best feeling in the world.”
He continued, “It’s not a cure. It’s not for research. These families need help right now.”

After spending Friday and Saturday of Twins Fest signing autographs and thanking fans, Guardado attended the 5th Annual Stars & Strikes bowling event. Eddie and Niko, as well as Niko’s Party of Five co-star Emily Tosta, hosted the event. Torii Hunter, Jacque Jones, Adrian Beltre, Michael Young and many more former big league stars were in attendance. Just as many Hollywood stars also participated in the event including Party of Five's Elle Paris Legaspi, Brandon Larracuente, and Sol Rodriguez.

According to Guardado, the event was “Sold out. We raised money and everybody is there for a good reason.”

CHALLENGE - I donated $100 to the Eddie Guardado Foundation tonight. It was quick and easy. Please consider donating as well, in any amount you feel comfortable with. Donate here.

Follow Niko Guardado on Instagram and Twitter.

  • Sconnie, WLFINN and nclahammer like this

  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email


Feb 21 2020 07:18 AM

Nice article about a nice family. Thank you.

    • Seth Stohs, gil4, Sconnie and 2 others like this
operation mindcrime
Feb 21 2020 10:39 AM
I didn't know Eddie was LaTroy and Torii's father!
    • gil4 likes this

Similar Articles

by Seth Stohs , 25 Feb 2019

by Cody Christie , 21 Mar 2018

by Seth Stohs , 08 Nov 2016

by Parker Hageman , 07 Apr 2016

by Lindsey Young , 11 Mar 2015