1/7/2017 4:30 P.M. ET

Players, coaches give back at Legends Clinic

Former MLB player Duncan making difference in his hometown
The Legends for Youth baseball clinics combine former Major Leaguers and youth participants on the diamond, giving children an opportunity to acquire life skills and baseball fundamentals from some of baseballs brightest past stars.
MLB Alumni News

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Growing up in Tucson, Shelley Duncan found his baseball heaven.

Now, he's trying to help bring it back.

Duncan, a former big league player and the current manager of the Hillsboro Hops, the D-backs' Class A affiliate, helped run the MLBPA Legends For Youth Baseball Clinic on Saturday at Kino Sports Complex.

Current and former Major League coaches and players alike helped coach the event, which was offered for free to area kids ranging in ages from 6-14.

Some of the notable assistants included Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy, Dodgers reliever Adam Liberatore, former Gold Glove Award winner Kenny Lofton and former D-backs manager and current A's third-base coach Chip Hale. Each spent significant time in the area either growing up or in college, and now they are trying to bring the baseball culture to the area.

"Baseball in Tucson is like the Mecca in the [United States]," Duncan said. "USA Baseball was here at one time. Arizona baseball was at its peak in the mid- or late '80s, early '90s. The Tucson Toros were here. Spring Training was here. That was the environment we grew up in."

Duncan's baseball "Mecca" has lost its luster in recent years. USA Baseball moved its headquarters from Tucson in 2003 after an extended stint in the area. The Tucson Toros, a popular Minor League affiliate to several clubs, moved in 2010.

Duncan wanted to come and help bring a change. Saturday marked his sixth year heading the event, continuing his participation even after retiring in 2013 following a Major League career with the Yankees, Indians and Rays. A recent College World Series championship by the nearby University of Arizona in 2012 (and title appearance in '16) has also contributed, though Duncan now wants to create even more opportunities for kids to learn the game.

"I was born and raised here, and when I was growing up, there was never anything like this," Duncan said. "I've just been getting tired with all these people setting up camps that charge $100 a pop, and most of the kids in Tucson couldn't afford it."

Saturday's event cycled kids through a circuit of throwing, hitting, stretching, outfield and infield exercises. It also taught some of the kids life lessons Duncan hopes can groom the next crop of elite baseball talent in southern Arizona.

"The one thing I wish I could pass on to every kid is just to play the game with fun and passion," Duncan said. "I know too many times where fundamentals and winning gets drilled into the kids at such a young age. It just adds on pressure and takes away from the fun. You don't see too many kids playing for the love of the game anymore, and if we can just find ways to get them to have fun, it's special."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
MLBPAA Events
Aug. 19, 2017: Apopka Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 19, 2017: Boston Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 19, 2017: Seattle Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 19, 2017: Sparks Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 19, 2017: Woodinville Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 21, 2017: Salt Lake City Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 23, 2017: Lakewood Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 25, 2017: Philadelphia Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 26, 2017: St. Louis Alumni Day
The Alumni Day Series consists of a pre-game reception hosted at Major League Baseball Stadiums and includes two free tickets for each former player and their guest.
Aug. 26, 2017: Visalia Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 28, 2017: Catonsville Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 30, 2017: Norfolk Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Sept. 6, 2017: San Diego Alumni Day
The Alumni Day Series consists of a pre-game reception hosted at Major League Baseball Stadiums and includes two free tickets for each former player and their guest.
Sept. 9, 2017: Kansas City Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Sept. 12, 2017: Cleveland Alumni Day
The Alumni Day Series consists of a pre-game reception hosted at Major League Baseball Stadiums and includes two free tickets for each former player and their guest.
Sept. 12, 2017: Compton Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Sept. 13-14, 2017: Harrisburg Fundraiser
This MLBPAA fundraising event will benefit the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation.
Sept. 20, 2017: Oakland Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Sept. 22, 2017: Cincinnati Alumni Day
The Alumni Day Series consists of a pre-game reception hosted at Major League Baseball Stadiums and includes two free tickets for each former player and their guest.
Sept. 23, 2017: Chicago Alumni Day
The Alumni Day Series consists of a pre-game reception hosted at Major League Baseball Stadiums and includes two free tickets for each former player and their guest.
Sept. 29, 2017: Tampa Alumni Day
The Alumni Day Series consists of a pre-game reception hosted at Major League Baseball Stadiums and includes two free tickets for each former player and their guest.
Sept. 30, 2017: Visalia Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Sept. 30, 2017: Washington D.C. Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Oct. 12, 2017: Keller Fundraiser
This MLBPAA fundraising event will benefit the MLBPAA
Oct. 14, 2017: Hartford Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Oct. 14, 2017: Hartford Coaches Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Oct. 16, 2017: Welland Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Oct. 17, 2017: Welland Coaches Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Oct. 28, 2017: Visalia Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Nov. 3-5, 2017: Nicaragua Clinics
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Nov. 16, 2017: Cuba Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Nov. 17, 2017: Cuba Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Nov. 19, 2017: Cuba Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Nov. 25, 2017: Visalia Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Dec. 14, 2017: Panama City Coaches Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Dec. 15, 2017: Panama City Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Dec. 16, 2017: Panama City Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Dec. 17, 2017: Colon Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Complete Event Schedule