WHITEFISH BAY — A group of young ballplayers had a unique opportunity Saturday at Water Tower Park. Several former Major League Baseball players held a free clinic for the first 250 players to show up.
The event is held in honor of former Little League coach Greg Loyda. Loyda was instrumental is bringing the MLB alumni to Whitefish Bay in 2010. But just months before the clinic, Loyda died unexpectedly. The community pushed to make the clinic an annual tradition and Saturday marked the third year of the event.
“This is a beautiful, beautiful tribute to him,” his wife Jenny Loyda said, “And I think this represents so many mom and dads who give their time up for kids.”
The youngsters were divided into rotating groups, bouncing between hitting, fielding, baserunning, and pitching. Former All-Star pitchers Bill Campbell and Lee Smith handed the pitching camp. They admitted it’s challenging to deliver a memorable lesson in a 15-minute session.
“It’s really a tough thing because you see so many kids in the group,” Smith said, “You see some are ahead of some of the kids and you wanna keep working with them a little more.”
But the organizers and players made the most of their three hours together. For Loyda, the short sessions went a long way; the community had to come together because of husband’s passion for coaching baseball.
“We want everyone to remember Greg for who he was,” she said, “Because this what he was about, was teaching and he taught with style.”