Story and photo by Darlene Maes
At a young age, Vincent Byrd II developed an admiration for a sport that would ultimately become his life.
Byrd was introduced to baseball by his father Vincent Byrd Sr., enrolled him in T-ball.
In addition to that, watching baseball games, decorating his room with baseball memorabilia and relating baseball to school as much as possible added interest.
Growing up with the height advantage, he was always questioned of his age due to his physique and at times even asked to not participate in games.
Byrd, now 19 years old and standing 6 feet, 7 inches, said, “I was always bigger than most people and would protest off the field.
My last year of Little League I didn’t get to play because they thought I was too old to.” With the support system from his father and his mother Shervaughnna Byrd, he knew baseball was his destiny: He expressed this by by saying, “Baseball changed my life and has taught me a lot about it, that you can’t give up.”
As a baseball player, the top career would be to signed to a Major League team.
He detailed how playing baseball has laid out a pathway to his goals as well as continuing his academic career: “That’s my No. 1 dream job, I am ready to start my career.”
With a major in petroleum engineering and a minor in African studies, Byrd is signed to Cal State University, of Bakersfield. Byrd said, “I would like to finish college and make my parents proud and be the first child to graduate from college.”
He also added the importance of gaining a minor in African studies. “My grandma passed away this past fall and one of her majors was African studies. Following her footsteps would mean a lot to me and my mom who loved her dearly.”
Byrd was drafted last year in the 30th round by the Cincinnati Reds, as their 888th pick in the draft.
His reasoning for not signing to them was, “It was the 30th round and I was 18 last year and I told myself I can do better than that. And that this year I would have a breakout year and potentially be higher in the draft.”
LBCC coach Casey Crook described the qualities Byrd has as an athlete: He said, “He is a leader and great to have a on the team. As he understands his strengths and gets better with his weaknesses, he can definitely be a guy who you have to pay to watch play someday.”
Byrd describes himself as a, “I’m a gentle giant and always smiling.” As the season is coming to an end, Byrd detailed the best memory is, “The third game against El Camino, putting up 20 runs and being in the playoffs with my team.”
The Vikings went 30-16-1 overall and 17-5 in conference. The team ended the season with a loss in the second round of the California Community College Athletics Association. Byrd hit 11 homeruns, 50 RBIs and had a batting average of .371.