DALLAS -- On Saturday morning, Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington woke up and put on his practice jersey, grabbed his bat and glove and headed to the ball field. There was no day game or morning practice, but there still were players that needed coaching. In fact, there were 40 of them.
Forty children from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Dallas gathered at Juan Gonzalez Field in Oak Cliff for a baseball clinic put on by Washington, first-base coach Gary Pettis and former Rangers player Mark McLemore.
"I was once in their shoes, sitting in these bleachers, dreaming these same dreams," Washington said. "Someone showed me the right way to do something, and then told me I could do it and here I am today."
Each wearing a Rangers hat and new glove, the children asked the Texas skipper questions about his background and his career before playing catch and receiving infield instruction.
The clinic was a part of the team's new broad based initiative created to increase the team's visibility and impact in the Dallas/Fort Worth African-American community. Other aspects of this initiative include the donation of pitching machines, bats, helmets, baseballs, gloves, other baseball equipment and uniforms by the organization to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Dallas.
Washington and the club also created the "Wash's Winners" program, which will provide an opportunity for boys and girls from the Dallas/Fort Worth community to attend one of 50 Rangers games this season.
"Baseball has had such a huge impact on my life. It is my life," Washington said. "I want them to know they can do anything they set their mind to. You never know, one of these kids could be the next big-league ballplayer, or even a professional manager."
Abby Teaff is coordinator of media relations for the Texas Rangers. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.