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June 10, 2009 > MLB star turned community asset

MLB star turned community asset

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.
Photos By William Mancebo

Eighteen-year Major League Baseball veteran Shawon Dunston, a Brooklyn, New York, native, has called Fremont his home for the better part of 20 years. He has become a staple of the community, and looks to keep it that way.

Dunston spent his better years playing for the Chicago Cubs of the National League to begin his career after being drafted by the club number-one overall in the 1982 draft. Dunston made All Star Game appearances in 1988 and '90 while playing shortstop with the Cubs.

"The weather is really nice out here," said Dunston about the California winter months. Dunston's wife, an East Palo Alto native, picked out the family house which they've been a part of since 1988.

Dunston, who has four children, has sent each one of them through Fremont Christian for schooling.

"My kids went to Fremont Christian," said Dunston. "They really like the upbringing there."

While Dunston's children have been a part of the Fremont community for the majority of their lives, Dunston himself has taken strides to becoming a staple to the community. Since 2007, he has been part of the Recreation Committee for the city of Fremont.

"I'm on the commission," said Dunston who was prepping for an interview on Comcast SportsNet "Chronicle Live" on Monday afternoon, June 1. "I enjoy myself, I'm not going to lie. And I speak to a lot of nice people."

Larry Thompson holds the Chair position for the commission and feels Dunston brings a certain dynamic to Fremont that others can't.

"Shawon's in-depth is important," said Thompson. "But his experience in growing up as an athlete in the Bay Area is invaluable."

While his kids were growing up, Dunston, who sported a .269 batting average and 150 homers in his career, would hold baseball instructional camps. And, when people ask him to go to one of their kid's baseball games, he'll do that, too, "no problem."

"I'm just a normal person," said Dunston. "I just help people out when they ask me."

The 18-year vet who had three stints with the San Francisco Giants, including the final two years of his career, may be normal in his own eyes, but is a role model to those in the community, bringing a lot to the youth of Fremont.

"His genuine concern for the Fremont community and especially the youth of Fremont," Thompson points out, "make him a valuable asset."

Having experienced so much success throughout his life and career, Dunston, who is now a part-time instructional advisor with the Giants, could pick a multitude of moments as his most memorable one. But, while he claims his favorite stop was with the Cubs, his unforgettable moment was in the Bay Area.

"One of my biggest years is 2002, the World Series," said Dunston. "We (Giants) made it to the World Series (versus the Anaheim Angels), and my son was a bat boy, and I hit a home run (in the series)."

And while making it to the World Series in 2002 may be Dunston's most memorable year as a big leaguer, he is still a family man at heart.

"When you see your kids ... it takes off the pressure," said Dunston. "You don't have to worry so much about hitting and playing. When you see your son, then go up to the plate, you become more relaxed."

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