Former Major League Baseball pitcher Dontrelle Willis has a smile that can light up a room. Between that and his unmatched leg kick, Willis is fondly remembered by most fans throughout baseball. Willis' career spanned nine seasons and included multiple stops along the way.
Willis won the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2003 while pitching for the Florida - now Miami - Marlins. The left-hander also went to the All-Star Game on two separate occasions, almost took home the NL Cy Young Award in 2005, and ended his career with almost 900 strikeouts.
But Willis, now part of the Los Angeles Dodgers' broadcast team, took an opportunity recently to make an impact off the field. Willis took part in the MLB DREAM Series, an amateur baseball development camp focused on helping encourage and grow the talented group of young minority players, and offered some advice to several of this year's participants.
Beloved Dodgers broadcaster Dontrelle Willis delivers inspiring speech to youth baseball players at 2024 MLB DREAM Series
Willis offered encouragement during an on-field speech to the young players in attendance. The former major leaguer spoke of the "little things" that are so important and oftentimes get overlooked.
Willis also expressed the importance of thinking about more than just yourself, speaking to the impact of the teammates and others who've helped along the way. "We don't get here by ourselves," Willis said.
Dontrelle Willis isn't the only current or former major league player who's offering guidance and advice to the DREAM Series participants. CC Sabathia, Josiah Gray, and Cole Tucker are also helping to usher in the next wave of young amateur talent. Current Cincinnati Reds pitcher, and DREAM Series alumni Hunter Greene was also part of the event.
The DREAM Series is another avenue to help Major League Baseball expand the game, or, as Willis said, "pass it forward." It's wonderful to see current and former players like Willis take the time to offer advice and mentorship to the youth of today in an effort to grow the game that we love.