Back in 2013, a Catholic church in California threw a youth sports equipment drive. Tony Ramirez, the church’s janitor, had always wanted his 9-year-old son Bryan to play baseball, but he couldn’t afford to buy him gear. So he picked up a red bat out of the donation bin so that he could finally sign his son up to play. Now, four years later, Tony is heading to Williamsport, Pennsylvania to watch his boy play for the Santa Margarita all-stars, one of eight teams representing the United States in the annual Little League World Series.
According to The Orange County Register, Tony is originally from Nayarit, located between Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Tony was one of 11 kids in his family and his favorite activity was baseball. As he got older, Tony decided to chase the American dream and head to Stockton, California. He had no shortage of obstacles when he moved to California, but ended up meeting his wife Laura, having three kids, and eventually gaining his U.S. citizenship. Thanks to Tony and Laura’s sacrifice, his two daughters are currently in college studying sociology and business and his son is gearing up to play in the Little League World Series.
Bryan had almost no familiarity with baseball when his dad gave him that red bat, but he had a modicum of natural talent and a penchant for hard work that helped him make the all-star team his very first year — something he’s continued to do every year since. Even when it has been difficult financially, Tony and Laura have made sure to make it possible for Bryan to continue to play baseball and get better, sometimes relying on the “credit card and pray” methodology.
Now that Tony has seen his son have so much success on the diamond, he realized that his son no longer needed that red bat that he gave to him to jump start his baseball career. Instead of throwing it out, Tony gave it to a kid in Nayarit who was learning how to play. It worked once, why not see if it can happen again?