More than 50 local kids spent their Saturday learning the ins and outs of baseball from one of the greats. Former New York Mets and Mobile native — Cleon Jones — taking time to give back.
The Cleon Jones Legends Baseball Camp took over Hank Aaron Stadium. The young baseball players all looking to improve their game.
Jones grew up in Africatown and says it feels good to give back.
“I was fortunate enough when I came up — somebody was there for me… To give me the ball and the glove, so I could develop and become a major leaguer. Now it’s my charge to do the same thing,” said Jones.
The camp is about more than just baseball. The game is teaching the players about attitude, leadership, and how to channel their energy — and of course dream big.
“For them to have the opportunity to see that — hey — I’m just a kid who started off playing baseball in Mobile and can really make it to the pros or make it on a college level — is something that can be inspiring as well as successful for them,” said Darnesha Lewis, Assistant Baseball Coach LeFlore High School.
Lewis’ son Dylan is a junior and plays for LeFlore.
“My favorite team is the Padres! Go Padres… Laughs,” said Dylan.
The starting third baseman and outfielder aspires to play at the next level.
“I hope to go to school at Xavier University of Louisiana — but I’m open to anywhere because it’s just baseball, wherever you play it… You just got to play it,” said Dylan.
It’s that desire to play — and want to be better — that makes the difference. And Jones will tell them — they all have enough talent to play baseball.
“It’s not like football and basketball – anybody can play baseball. You don’t need to be any size… You can be any stature and play and be good at it. So that’s what I try to tell these kids,” said Jones.
Jones says he hopes to bring in other Major League players to help with future camps.