MLB Players

Why Is Rowdy Tellez Playing For Mexico? Learn His Mexican And Israeli Roots

By / 18 March 2023 08:24 AM

Rowdy Tellez wears the sombrero after crushing a home run against Team Canada in the ongoing World Baseball Classic Tournament.
Source : twitter

Rowdy Tellez is playing for Mexico in WBC because of his paternal connection. Tellez father Greg Tellez is of Mexican descent. 

The Milwaukee Brewers' first baseman, Rowdy Tellez, was able to eligible to represent three countries in the World Baseball Classic, but in the end, preferred to choose Team Mexico as he grew up with his dad's family.

The 27-year-old made his MLB debut in 2018 for Blue Jays. The debut came two weeks after his mother, Lori's demise. Lori came from a Jewish heritage, making Rowdy eligible to represent Team Israel in WBC.

Now with Team Mexico heading to the semifinals to face Team Japan, Rowdy Tellez hopes to bring the glory to their nation with teammates Randy Arozarena and Taijuan Walker

Why Is Rowdy Tellez Playing For Mexico?

Rowdy Tellez is eligible to play for Mexico because his paternal family is Mexican. Baseball runs deep in the Tellez family.

His grandfather, whom he had never met, played in the Mexican league. His grandfather also played in Colorado for the Greeley Grays. 

Though he had the option to choose between Mexico, Israel, and the US, Rowdy decided to pick the country where his father, Greg, was born. The 27-year-old first baseman announced he would represent the green-and-white color at the World Baseball Classic on September 18, 2022.

In an interview with AZ Central, Rowdy said he was told by the US that he wasn't good enough and that Mexico had been in contact with him since 2017 and all the paperwork had been sorted out.

Rowdy Tellez wears the Mexican jersey with great pride as he is pictured for a team headshot before the tournament.
Source : twitter

Greg and his wife Lori raised Rowdy and his siblings in Grove, California. It was Greg who coached his son in his formative years. 

Speaking to the MLB Network just days before the tournament began, Rowdy said he was excited to represent his family's nation and holds great pride he is the one doing it. At the end of the interview, Rowdy also added that he hoped to bring the trophy back home.

Rowdy Tellez grandad played in the Mexican League during his heyday.
Source : twitter

And the Brewers player and his country look on course to doing so. Against their arch-rivals, Team USA, the Mexicans won with a landslide victory of 11-5, with Rowdy scoring a solo home run in the eighth.

Rowdy continued his exploits against Team Canada as he collected three RBIs. Team Mexico once against came on top as they won the game 10-3 on Wednesday. Mexico now joins Japan and Cuba in the semis. 

Rowdy Tellez Did Not Represent Israel In WBC 2023

Rowdy Tellez could have represented Israel in the ongoing World Baseball Classic tournament but opted for Mexico.

Rowdy was eligible to be on the roster of Team Israel because of his mother's connection. Rowdy's later mother, Lori Tellez, was of Jewish heritage which could have led him to make an appearance for Team Israel.

Rowdy Tellez could've represented Team Israel due to his mother's Jewish heritage.
Source : twitter

The return rules of Israel state that the person must have at least one Jewish grandparent to be eligible for citizenship; in this case, Rowdy has his mother. And if Rowdy had chosen to represent Israel, he wouldn't have been preparing for the semifinals.

Though Team Israel began their tournament with a win against Nicaragua, they faced three back-to-back losses against Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Venezuela. Could Rowdy Tellez have helped Team Israel?

Absolutely, but one individual couldn't have been able to fix all the problems of Team Israel. Even their star player, Joc Pederson, didn't have the best time with the bat in the tournament. 

Rowdy Tellez Parents Are Of Mixed Ethnicity

Rowdy Tellez parents Greg Tellez and Lori Tellez come from different ethnic backgrounds. They are of mixed heritage. 

If Greg comes from a Mexican background, Lori was of Jewish heritage. On September 5, 2018, when Rowdy made his MLB debut, he had his father cheering from the stand and his mom looking at him from the heavens above.

Rowdy Tellez pictured with his dad Greg after scoring his first MLB home run and with his mother Lori in a picture shared by the Blue Jays in 2018.
Source : facebook

The first baseman lost his mom two weeks before he made his MLB debut. Lori battled brain cancer for two years before she passed away on August 19, 2018, at 53. At one point, the family even believed Lori was recovering, but her health deteriorated considerably in 2018.

On his debut game, as Rowdy scored a double, he wrote "Mom" in the batter's box. Growing up, Rowdy was close to his mom, who, compared to his dad, was lenient. He and his sister, Amy, could always count on Lori to hide their mistakes from Greg.

Lori worked in a school before her demise and had previously worked in the local courthouse. Rowdy's friend said Mrs. Tellez was one of a kind, just a humble and sweet woman.


Greg missed his son's debut but was one of the attendees in the game played on next day. During the game, the cameras were able to catch an emotional moment between the father-son duo.

Rowdy made his way toward his dad as they shared a warm embrace lasting for several seconds.

Despite scoring 35 home runs in 2022, Tellez's 2022 season was seen in a negative light due to his one-dimensional nature. The first baseman hopes to make a case for himself in the 2023 MLB season, and if he keeps up with the impactful performance he has shown in WBC, there's no doubt he can shut down the critics. 

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