COMPTON, Calif. -- Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Compton has had numerous current and former big leaguers visit the facility over the past decade, including Clayton Kershaw, David Price, Rod Carew, Derek Jeter, Frank Robinson, Yasiel Puig and Frank Thomas.Being around Hall of
COMPTON, Calif. -- Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Compton has had numerous current and former big leaguers visit the facility over the past decade, including Clayton Kershaw, David Price, Rod Carew, Derek Jeter, Frank Robinson, Yasiel Puig and Frank Thomas.
Being around Hall of Famers and superstars is quite a privilege for the UYA players, but it always makes a special impact when the guest is a young player who can especially relate to what students at the academy are going through, on and off the field. Such a player is Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, who stopped by Saturday before heading to Anaheim to play the Angels.
"He's a fantastic young person," said academy director Rodney Davis. "We are very fortunate to have him come through our academy today to talk to our young people and see what we can do."
The 22-year-old Lindor, who is stopping at several road cities to make similar visits as an ambassador to the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program, was very impressed with what he saw in Compton.
"First off, this academy is gorgeous," said Lindor. "It's really nice and well organized. I got to come here and to the be around kids, which is cool and fun. It is always nice to listen to them, and it's a blessing to share my experiences in life and my knowledge with them. I'm blessed to be here."
Lindor first toured the academy grounds with Davis and the spent over 40 minutes speaking with and answering questions from 25 students and coaches from the academy.
When asked what would motivate a player to come out on a game day, Lindor's answer was simple and direct.
"Kids, that's what motivates me," he said. "I was a kid, and a lot of people helped me. A lot of people gave me hope. God put a lot of people in my steps to guide me to the next and on and on. Why wouldn't I help them? Why not? The best way of helping others is donating some time, giving time."
For Davis, whose son is Oakland A's outfielder Khris Davis, visits like Lindor's bring back good memories.
"It takes me back to that time in life when I was a young person, listening to Darrell Miller speak at a clinic or Kenny Landreaux," said Davis. "Hearing those guys talking about their work ethic, their focus and their achieving, and, as iron sharpens iron, it helped sharpen me."
For Lindor, it would please him beyond belief to meet one of these young players a few years down the road and see them make it to the big leagues.
"That would fill my heart," said Lindor. "I would be the happiest person. There will be a lot of emotions, because he didn't get there because of me. He got there because of his work and his time, but saying that he remembered me, somehow I impacted his life, and that's what it's all about."
Ben Platt is a correspondent and senior field producer for MLB.com.