Countries like the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Japan and the U.S. are known for producing baseball players. The Bahamas? Not so much.
Only six players in history have hailed from the tiny island just southeast of Miami and made it to the professional leagues. Which is why a Charlotte Stone Crabs infielder is such a rare breed.
“I remember growing up, they would ask us if we rode dolphins to school,” said infielder and Bahamas native Lucius Fox. “I was like ‘what?’ So we just laugh at it now.”
“Growing up in the Bahamas, there’s a lot to do with the water. We like swimming, fishing, and all that different stuff. The water is crystal clear there,” Fox added.
Fox’s journey to the U.S. started when a physical education teacher at his school held a baseball team tryout, and Fox decided to give it a go.
“My cousin and I would just be in the backyard hitting rocks with sticks. I love all sports, but this, it just captured my heart. I just started to research more. I started turning on the TV. I started watching more games,” Fox said.
His desire to pursue the sport was met with immediate support, especially from his grandfather, who was a life-long Yankee fan.
“He was so happy when I came to him with baseball questions and stuff like that and listening to the games with him,” Fox said.
But the two only got to share their mutual love of the game for a short time, as his grandfather passed away when Fox was nine.
“He never once got to see me play but I know he’s watching over me and he’s proud of what I’m doing and hopefully I can make it to the top one day and beat his Yankees,” Fox said.
When Fox turned 13, he arrived to the U.S. to play high school baseball for American Heritage in Plantation until his senior year, when financial difficulties forced him to return home to the Bahamas.
“It was hard on me because at that moment I felt like it was all gone. When she told me that, I felt like that just went down the drain,” Fox said.
But his luck turned when the San Francisco Giants signed Fox as an international free agent in 2015.
And those around him know he doesn’t take a single thing for granted now.
“He’s genuine and you can’t ask for anything more than that. He’s on a mission,” said Joe Szekely, the Stone Crabs hitting coach.
It was a mission that started in the unlikeliest of places, but continues to move forward, knocking down obstacles left and right.
“Ever since that first practice, I just fell in love with the game,” Fox added. “I wanted to make it to the major leagues and from then, it’s just been my dream.”