As 2014 comes to an end and I look back at the MLB players I have had the opportunity to interview, one of the most interesting things that I have found is who these players say inspired them and served as role models when they were growing up. I think you can learn a lot about a player by knowing who they looked up to growing up. It gives you a little insight about the player and what qualities of greatness inspired them.
During her first ever baseball game, in 2009, there were three things that made 7-year-old pitcher Mo’ne Davis stick out: her pink glove, her raw talent, and her resolve. Sure, she was the only girl on Philadelphia’s Anderson Monarchs team — the glove was a dead giveaway — but the power of her arm drew a lot of attention, too.
So there she was, facing one of Philly’s top power hitters, an 8-year-old boy from a nearby Parkwood neighborhood youth team. The righthander delivered a fastball to the plate and watched the batter slam a rocket to the outfield in the fenceless ballpark. It was a home run.
“Mo’ne put her head down,” Monarchs coach Steve Bandura remembers. “I went out to check on her. I thought she was crying.”
“She was mad,” Bandura continues. “After that, she struck him out every time he was up to bat. She had good command and a competitive fire, even back then."
Five years later, Mo’ne is no longer sporting the pink glove, but she’s still striking out the boys and drawing attention.
Mo’ne, now a 13-year-old with a wicked 70-mph fastball, became the most talked about pitcher this summer (move over, Clayton Kershaw) when she threw two shutouts in August. The first one advanced the Philadelphia Taney Dragons all-star team to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The second one propelled her into the history books, as Mo’ne became the first girl in the 75-year history of the LLWS to pitch a shutout in the tournament. The 5' 4" flamethrower did more than just play a boy’s game. She dominated it, showing the nation that a girl can throw heat, too. She also inspired countless kids to dream big. That is why Mo’ne Davis is the 2014 Sports Illustrated Kids SportsKid of the Year.
Matt Nadel is one of MLB.com's youngest blogger. But he doesn't just contribute to the MLB website. Matt has also written an A-Z introduction to baseball history, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers, published by Summer Game Books. It's currently an eBook and will soon be out in paperback. Matt is donating all of the proceeds from the sale of the book to four baseball charities: The Jackie Robinson Foundation, the Hall of Fame Museum, the ALS Association, and the Turn 2 Foundation.
When he learned about Matt, we thought we should have one of our own baseball-obsessed Kid Reporters, Max Ferregur, chat with Matt about being a kid journalist and learn some tricks of the trade.
The 2014 MLB season officially came to an end last night when the league and the Baseball Writers Association of America announced the year's Most Valuable Players. And there was no real surprise: Los Angeles Angels phenom Mike Trout was the unanimous choice as American League MVP, and in the National League Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw picked up the National League MVP to go with the Cy Young Award he nabbed a day earlier.
When 30 members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America cast their votes at the end of the regular season, they made two decisions for the Cy Young Awards – one was obvious and the other a little more obscure.
On Wednesday night, Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians were officially named the best pitchers in the bigs.
Major League Baseball's awards season is in full swing, and last night it announced a couple big ones. New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom and Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu were named the 2014 National League and American League Rookie of the Year, respectively, and they both won decisively.
Yesterday, Major League Baseball began its awards season by handing out a bunch of Golden Gloves. Those are your winners, up there at the top of this post. But here’s the list in case some of those faces don’t look familiar: