Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Baseball Story

AP Photos
We all know I (Stowe) am a big bleeding heart, so I'm going to share a sentencing story with a happy ending.  And it just so happens to involve America's pastime and the best sport ever created:  baseball.

(Football fans, try not to hate.)

Growing up, my brother was a rabid Kansas City Royals fan. Any self-respecting KC fan knows of Willie Mays Aikens:
In the 1980 World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, the left-handed hitting Royals first baseman and designated hitter batted .400, drove in the winning run in the Royals' first World Series game win ever and became the first player in history with two two-homer games in a single Series. Aikens hit 88 home runs during four years with the Royals beginning in 1980 and a total of 110 homers in a career that also included two-year stays with the Angels and Blue Jays. His lifetime batting average was .271.
What some don't know is that Mr. Aikens also spent 14 years in federal prison for a crack offense.  Now, he's out (thanks to the 2007 changes to the crack guidelines, which FAMM and many others worked hard to make retroactive) and doing great.  He's got a new job, too:  coaching for the Royals' farm system.

Read all about it in this ESPN article.  Says Mr. Aikens on his new job:
"I don't want to just teach young players about the fundamentals of hitting but to help and mentor some of the guys if they are having problems off the field," Aikens said. "I have that life experience, as a person who was successful and hit rock bottom. If I can go in and talk to the guys and keep them from going in the same direction I went in, it'll be a blessing for them, too."
Mr. Aikens is an excellent example of how much formerly incarcerated people have to offer to society, and we offer him our congratulations on his new job.

-- Stowe


beth said...

There are non-violent marijuana only citizens serving sentences of life without parole. Most people do not believe this could be true, but it is.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the story. I am thrilled to hear another story of someone who has made it through the federal system and is doing well.