The Seattle Mariners have called up 3-bagger Kyle Seager, a former teammate of Dustin Ackley with the University of North Carolina, from Tacoma. Seager, who had just been promoted to the Rainiers two weeks prior, has been knocking the cover off the ball in the minors, including raking at a .455 clip in his 12-game stint in Tacoma. With the Mariners needing help at the hot corner and Seager tearing it up, the call was made.
However, there’s more to this 3rd round pick in the 2009 draft than just being a professional ballplayer and something that specifically endears him to me. You see, Seager was born, just as my daughter was, with a ventricular septal defect (VSD). A VSD, one of the most common congenital heart defects, is a hole in the wall that separates the right and left ventricles of the heart. When Seager underwent surgery to repair the hole (at just 5 weeks old), his parents were told there would be some life-long limitations. “No football, soccer, basketball or baseball,” Seager said. “No contact sports.”
On June 3rd, during the Jackson Generals’ second annual “Night of Heart at the Ballpark,” Seager, who was a 2nd baseman for the team, met 11-year-old William Witherspoon, who was born with the same defect and underwent the same surgery just a few years back. Witherspoon, who was throwing out the first pitch to kick off the night, was amazed when Seager, who was listening to his story, approached him. “When Kyle came up to speak I was real surprised, because I didn’t expect any one with heart problems like I had to be real big in sports,” said the young Witherspoon, “I couldn’t believe I was talking to a professional sports player.”
William’s unplanned meeting with Seager resulted in an autographed ball, picture, jersey and I’m sure a life-long source of inpiration. “I have the jersey hanging in my closet and I’m going to get it framed,” said William.
For Kyle’s gesture of sharing his story, unprompted, with the youngster and then hooking him up with some pretty cool stuff, we at The Good in Sports are proud to award Mr. Seager with a Gold Star! Additionally, we wish Kyle the best with the Mariners and his MLB career; I know I’ll be following it closely and when my daughter asks about her condition, I will tell her his story.
Special thanks to Tim over at Seattle Mariners Musings for sending us the info!
For more on Kyle Seager’s meeting with William Witherspoon read: