Joc's mom knows the big league ropes
Shelly Pederson has experienced being the wife and mom of Dodgers players
LOS ANGELES -- Shelly Pederson is in that exclusive club of being a Major Leaguer's wife and mother.
Shelly is the wife of former Dodgers outfielder Stu Pederson and mother of current rookie sensation Joc Pederson, along with his two brothers and one sister. A former athletic trainer, Shelly left most of the baseball coaching to Stu while she handled pretty much everything else, Joc said.
"My mom made sure of everything," Joc said as Mother's Day approached. "She'd drive us to practice, clean the jerseys, make sure I ate. I'm fortunate to have a mother that loves me so much."
In motherly fashion, Shelly said she hoped Joc didn't give her too much credit.
"His dad has been here every day, and Stu did a lot of what moms usually do," she said. "I was here to provide plenty of food, any emotional support they needed. I can't take a lot of the credit. Stu would always get Joc to the field early. When it was my turn to drive, I was known as the 'on-time mom.' Joc always had to be the first one to the field and the last to leave."
If the sons of Major Leaguers have a career advantage because they grew up around the game, Shelly said the same goes for Major League wives who become Major League mothers.
"Joc and his dad are very different, but I definitely know what will happen to Joc along the way [after] having lived it with Stu," she said. "It's harder to be the mom than the wife. With Stu, I was with him, throwing soft-toss, going to winter ball. Joc doesn't have that. But I know what he's going through."
Shelly said that at a young age Joc showed the persistence that has brought him to the Major Leagues.
"I was coaching his older brother's tee-ball team and Joc was too little and they wouldn't let him play, but he was going to do it anyway," she recalled. "He was supposed to stay off the field, stay in the little-kids' area, but the next thing we know he's climbing over the fence back onto the field and they decided if he was that determined, they'd let him play. And right away he was beating the older kids.
"So while you never assume your son will be in this situation, this was Joc's dream, and he's done it and we're proud of him. It's all kind of cool."
The Dodgers organization is quite different now from Stu's time there in the 1980s, but there are occasional familiar faces.
"Joc was committed to USC, and we were excited about watching our kid in college and how thrilling that would be and him getting that kind of education, but it turned out it wasn't the right thing," Shelly said. "So he's drafted by the Dodgers and signed, and when he goes to instructional league, it turns out his coach is John Shoemaker, who was Stu's first coach in Vero Beach. It was sort of like going to parents' weekend."