The signing happened a week before Christmas, garnering no press release or announcement from the Washington Nationals, just a blip on the team’s transaction page. But it meant so much to so many.

Joy surged through the halls of Wilson High, through the playground at Friendship Rec Center in Northwest, through all the coaches and all scruffy diamonds across the District that taught Emmanuel Burris the game he loves.

“This is home,” said Allen Burriss, Emmanuel’s father. “This we where we watched a lot of baseball all my life. To see my son associated with the team I love and cheer for, for my son to be playing at home, it makes me full of pride.”

Burriss, the former Wilson shortstop who in 2008 snapped a 38-year drought without a D.C. public school product in the majors, agreed to a minor league contract with the Nationals on Dec. 19.

Burriss tried to keep it quiet, but once word leaked out a deluge of calls and messages filled his phone. Burriss heard from coaches and teammates, teachers and friends, all of them as overjoyed as he was.