Former MLB players share pro tips with kids at Gulfport event

Former MLB players Fred Lewis and Matt Lawton share advice with kids.
Former MLB players Fred Lewis and Matt Lawton share advice with kids.(WLOX)
Published: Jan. 21, 2023 at 1:06 PM CST
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Former Major League Baseball players Fred Lewis and Matt Lawton shared some tips with kids at the Gulfport Sportsplex on Saturday.

The players helped teach kids the fundamentals of baseball.

“As a kid, I wanted to play professionally, just like these kids; I know they want to play professionally. That’s just something we all grow and try to play the game,” Lewis said. “As a kid, I idolized Ken Griffey Jr. Matt Lawton, he took me under his wing when I was playing pro ball. I idolized Matt also.”

Lawton, originally from Gulfport, played professional baseball for nine different teams, most notably the Minnesota Twins.

“As a kid, teachers and staff used to ask me, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ I always wanted to be a major league baseball player. That’s all I wanted to be. My dad used to take me to Atlanta to see the Braves play. I always had that dream that I wanted to play on these fields. It came true,” Lawton said.

Lewis was born and raised in Wiggins and attended Stone High. He was drafted to the MLB twice, once in 2000 by the Montreal Expos and again in 2002 by the San Francisco Giants, with whom he made his debut in 2006. He remembers starting off like the kids that attended the event.

“I started when I was five. It was just something about my mother and father that they wouldn’t allow me to miss a year. They didn’t want me to play football, so they allowed me to play baseball,” Lewis said.

Both players said their success would not be possible without the support of their families. They advised parents to support their kids’ dreams.

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