Clayton Kershaw, Hall of Fame Pitcher, 1st Class Role Model

Published: July 22, 2022

By Jim Lichtman
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Just when you think cynicism has become the default setting in much of America today a story comes along that reminds us of our humanity.

Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw—who, last week, came within 6 outs of a perfect game—was answering questions at a press conference for major league baseball’s All-Star game when a member of the media pointed to 10-year-old Blake Grice who was trying to get the pitcher’s attention.

“Oh, dude, sorry. Whatcha got?” Kershaw asked the boy.

The Hollywood News website, Deadline, picks up the story.

“Grice, who according to Fox11’s Geraud Moncuré, got into the press conference because he ‘has a media Instragram,’ approached the Dodgers legend and told him a story about his grandfather, Graham, who died from brain cancer seven years ago.

“In front of the assembled media, Grice told Kershaw that when his grandpa was sick, he made a bucket list with his two grandchildren of everything they were going to do together once he beat cancer: go to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, meet Vin Scully. It also included meeting Kershaw. But a week after they wrote the list out, Graham passed away. Since then, Grice told Kershaw, he and his family have tried to do everything on the list.

“‘My grandpa loved you,’ Blake told Kershaw as he fought back tears. ‘He watched the 1988 [World] Series and he wanted to meet you and Vin Scully one day. So, this moment is important to me because I’m meeting you for him.’

“At that point Kershaw — who has four children, three of them boys — came out from behind the podium and said, ‘Come here, dude, great to meet you,’ giving Grice a hug as he did so. ‘Thanks for telling me. That took a lot of courage to tell me that. Great to meet you. Your granddad sounded like an awesome guy. Thanks for coming up.’

“After they talked for a bit and took a picture, Grice gave Kershaw a big hug and then ran back to his father, who was waiting for him in the back of the room.”

Kershaw’s simple gesture is the essence of compassion, and the Dodger pitcher, like many sports stars, recognize their responsibility as a role model to millions of fans.

Nineteenth century Scottish evangelist, and writer, Henry Drummond noted—

“I wonder why it is that we are not all kinder to each other than we are. How much the world needs it. How easily it is done.”

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