25 years of Junior Giants in Mount Shasta

Skye Kinkade
Mount Shasta Junior Giants commissioner Mike 
Rodriguez, center, along with league representatives Kim and Garren Hanon were honored Saturday at 
Oracle Park in San Francisco for 25 years of service as the local Junior Giants league commissioner. They are flanked by ormer Giants pitcher Jeremy Affeldt, left, and former left fielder Jeffrey Leonard.

Mount Shasta’s Mike Rodriguez was honored at a home plate ceremony during the San Francisco Giants game at Oracle Park Saturday for 25 years of involvement with the Junior Giants program.

Rodriguez, the league’s commissioner and a 2016 Junior Giants Hall of Fame inductee has been involved since the program’s inaugural season, said Chrissy Camilleri, Junior Giants Coordinator.

In addition to home plate recognition before the May 11 game against the Reds, Rodriguez heard coaching tips from Giants Manager Bruce Bochy, former pitcher Jeremy Affeldt, broadcaster Duane Kuiper and former left fielder Jeffrey Leonard in a special Junior Giants Commissioners Meeting.

Affeldt said Bochy is the best coach he’s ever played for and pointed to the special quality he has in making every player feel important.

Leonard echoed this sentiment, saying that the best coaches lift children and adult players up so they can achieve their best.

Bochy, who has announced that he’s retiring after the 2019 season, said he hopes to remain “an asset” for the Giants in years to come in whatever capacity they can use him. He also said he will be doing a lot of fishing and intends to spend time with his two grandsons – perhaps coaching their Little League teams.

Junior Giants is the flagship program of the Giants Community Fund, which supports more than 22,000 youth in a free baseball program. Junior Giants has been up and running in Mount Shasta, thanks to Rodriguez, since 1994.

After growing up a Giants fan in Kingsburg, Calif., Rodriguez said he first heard of the Junior Giants program from Nick Kobseff and Pat Henretty.

“They told me to come with them to San Francisco to find out more about a new program they thought I’d be interested in,” Rodriguez said.

He did and he was, and every year since then the Giants have contributed equipment and supplies free of charge for Junior Giants games. they even supply gloves for kids who come to play without one.

Registration is open now for Mount Shasta’s league, which is open to kids ages 5-13 and is non-competitive and free. Players participate in character development, education, health and bullying prevention programs throughout an eight week season that will begin the first week of June.

Rodriguez said the league is searching for volunteer coaches and team parents.

To register, go to juniorgiants.org and search for the Mount Shasta league.