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Reddicks first home run derby a big hit
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Baseballs were flying in all directions Saturday at Macomber Park, and kids of all ages were lined up to meet big league outfielder Josh Reddick.

Reddick and the Rincon Recreation Department teamed up for the first Josh Reddick Home Run Derby, with proceeds going toward Macomber Park upkeep and improvements. And a cool morning gave way to sunny skies — and some baseballs flying out of the assorted fields.

“There’s been a lot of competition and a lot of laughs, too,” Reddick said. “We got to laugh at a bunch of the adults. I had a lot of friends and family in this, so it was pretty funny. Even the lower age groups turned out, and they’re doing well. That’s the big thing — we’re out here having fun and raising money.”

Reddick is coming off a Gold Glove-winning season with the Oakland Athletics. He spent parts of three seasons with the Boston Red Sox before being traded prior to last season.

He has been considering doing an event such as Saturday’s for some time, he said, but wanted to wait until he established himself as a major leaguer. In his first full season as a starter, Reddick led the A’s in home runs and runs batted in.

“I wanted to come back and give back,” he said. “I wanted just to give these kids an opportunity to meet somebody’s who made it and get a lot of stuff I never had growing up. They don’t realize it, but I’m enjoying this as much as they are.”

Reddick started his playing career at Macomber Park. Since his youth playing days, there are more sports and activities on those fields, and he hopes the money raised from the home run derby and silent auction can help with upkeep of those fields. Silent auction items included a Reddick-signed ball, game-worn cleats and signed cleats and posters, New York Mets third baseman David Wright-signed cleats and a Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jonathan Papelbon jersey.

An autograph session started the event, and Reddick continued to sign items and pose for pictures throughout the day. Approximately 60 entrants took part in the derby in the various age groups.

Reddick, who will leave for spring training Feb. 14, wants to do more events like the home run derby in the future.

“I’m not going to be just some big name that never comes home,” he said. “I want to let them know I’m not forgetting this area, because this is where I started.”

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