Fort Mill slugger, teammates put on show in Cooperstown

September 16, 2013 

— Young slugger’s 4 homers pace Carolina in Invitational

Special to the Fort Mill Times

Griffin Reddeck has some precious mementos decorating his bedroom.

From pictures to baseballs, bats and caps, to even signed trading cards, Reddeck’s room is a shrine to former St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees legend, Enos “Country” Slaughter.

And why not? After all, Slaughter was a 10-time All-Star selection and four-time World Series champion who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985. The “Country” nickname stems from his upbringing in small-town Roxboro, N.C. He was a little-known country boy who eventually played under the brightest lights of baseball.

He’s also Reddeck’s distant cousin.

“He definitely influenced my wearing the No. 9 jersey,” Reddeck, of Fort Mill, said. “Ever since, I’ve been trying to be like him.”

Recently, Reddeck completed a feat that neither the seasoned veteran Slaughter—nor any other Major Leaguer—has ever done.

While playing in the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame Invitational in Cooperstown, N.Y., Reddeck’s Fort Mill-based 12 and under team, the South Carolina Select, took on the Sykesville (Md.) Storm. It wasn’t pretty for Maryland, due in no small part to when Reddeck stepped up to the plate. In his five at-bats, the 12-year-old slugger smacked a home-run cycle to secure his team’s second consecutive win and their fourth out of six victory on the road trip. A home-run cycle is when a player hits a single-scoring homerun, a double-scoring homerun, a triple-scoring homerun and a grand slam, which scores four runs, all in the same game.

Reddeck got the single out of the way first, then started catching eyes when he hit homers with each of his trips to the plate. He hit the grand slam last, to his teammates’ delight, to cap off a 25-0 win.

“It’s always good to end on a high,” Reddeck said.

Reddeck now owns much more memorabilia to hang on his walls – including all four of his homerun balls and a Cooperstown Hall of Fame baseball bat with his engraved name and number. Before the Reddecks and South Carolina Select left New York, however, there was one more road trip they needed to take – to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame and see a familiar face.

“I would love to be in the Hall of Fame and be just as famous as he is,” Reddeck said when talking about Slaughter, who died in 2002. “This is a big memory so I can always remember Cooperstown.”

Dawne Reddeck, Griffin’s mother, participated in several different fundraisers throughout the past year just so her son and his team could have the unique experience. A hectic schedule is nothing new to her anymore. Travel baseball can go all year round, with few breaks in between, even during school.

“And it’s a 16-hour drive from here to New York,” she said. “The whole town is centered around baseball. I know Griffin will remember this for a long time to come.”

As Reddeck opens his eyes each morning, two sights will greet him as he looks along his bedroom walls. On one side, a shrine to a baseball legend hangs proudly. On the other, a small collection of baseballs and a bat compete for attention – just like Slaughter, Reddeck and his talent are hoping to be seen under the brightest lights one day.

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