Not only is Dodgers’ All-Star Freddie Freeman a hitting machine, but he’s also an all-around class act. He’s been dreaming of building a clubhouse for his Alma Mater’s baseball program and 15 years later, he was finally able to make it possible.
The 32-year-old was selected in the second round by the Atlanta Braves in the 2007 MLB Draft. Freeman, who had just graduated from El Modena High School a few months prior, was just four months shy of 18 years old at the time and made his major league debut 3 years later in 2010.
The six time All-Star has his hometown high school in Orange County and more specifically his then head coach, Steve Bernard, to thank for not only his skills and baseball IQ but also infinite amounts of love and support during some difficult times growing up, (quotes via the Orange County Register).
“He was so influential in my life, especially when my mom died. My oldest brother was there at El Modena. So we have a lot of wonderful memories, a lot of wonderful people who helped our family in a lot of ways.”
The first baseman, who doubled as a pitcher in high school, pledged $500,00 to make a clubhouse possible. It was the school’s largest donation from a private donor and will replace a shed-like building with a 1,440-square-foot modular building featuring a locker room, a team meeting area with monitors and a coaches office.
His reasoning was simple: give back to the school that raised him and also build them up for futures of success.
“I just always wanted to give back, El Modena is a special place for me and my family, so that’s why me and my wife decided to do it…”
The team, coached by Josh Kilner who took over the program a year after Freeman was signed to the Braves, has a history of success.
By building a clubhouse, the 2020 NL MVP is hoping it will draw in more boys who want a part in the action. El Modena High School has just recently won back to back league championships and ended their season in the Southern Section Semi-final game.
During Freeman’s senior year, he hit for a .417 batting average and had a 6–1 win–loss record as a pitcher. The Orange County Register named him its 2007 player of the year as he led his team to an overall 20-9 season and a league title before falling one game short of a chance at a Southern Section Championship.
Kilner spoke about the type of player the boys can look up to when sitting in that clubhouse which is on track to be completed in summer of 2023.
“And having someone who worked hard and succeeded is a great inspiration the school can point to. You are able to drive that point home to them, he was sitting in those seats you are sitting in right now.”
Despite the fact that he’s currently in season, Freeman has had an active part in the planning and vision building for the clubhouse wanting to not only make his dreams come true but also those of the coaching staff and the El Modena Baseball community.
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