It was summer 1978. My parents thought it would be good to have a family summer vacation in the Dominican Republic. They rented a cheap beach house that summer.

It started off really boring. I was a shy kid, and spent my time alone with my baseball glove, pitching a ball at a wall for hours each day. One day, the handyman that maintained and repaired the rental beach homes, in his broken English said to me, “ehhh, you want to be infielder or peecher. I told him I wanted be a pitcher. He laughed and told me that I was doing it wrong.

All summer this gracious saint, would come over to the house after work, and would spend hours teaching me how to pitch correctly, as my parents watched happily each day and cooked him up dinner outside on the grills.

The summer went by fast, we never got to say goodbye to Alejandro, as he left a week before we did, because of a sick family member on the other side of the island. There he was again, giving back to someone, helping them, helping a family member. I think he viewed everyone as his family.

Several years later, those pitching lessons landed me at UM.I think about Alejandro a lot these days, every time I look at my eight-figure account balance, a result of 1990’s contracts. To find him and give him half, would make me feel better. Someone giving something back to him for once. I wonder if he’s still around…

Story by Joe M. 

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