Kids these days…at a staggering 6 foot something, 15-year-old Brandon Mahoney certainly does not act his shoe size. Well, I suppose most young men don’t find themselves convincing the local Footlocker to special order a size 15 cleat! But, Mahoney is unique. The Indian Head Park native has a special agenda to outmuscle competing high school youth in the 2nd Annual Battle of the Bats Home Run Derby at Wrigley Field. The Brother Rice High School standout is impressing the likes of Kerry Wood by leading the way philanthropically by raising over $1,000 in less than 25 days in the competitions’ high school division. When you’ve been playing baseball aggressively for over 10 years, it’s OK to outshine the competition, and that’s exciting to see from a generation claimed as “lost” to the digital age of media and video games. With a diet powered by pizza and country music, Mahoney is ready to step up to the plate (literally) for Chicago’s youth, and we’re excited to see what he can really do. Comforted by an HR Derby Championship already under his belt, Mahoney will most certainly put on a show…but not before leading the way as a humble servant to the Chicagoland community. WFF
WFF – Tell me about how you got started playing baseball, how have you developed since your first travel team?
BM- I played t-ball at our local park district. My dad coached and taught me the fundamentals of the game. He became president of our Little League when I was a bit older, which was awesome! I’ve played travel baseball since I was nine and grew up with rigorous practices, having the drive to compete and learn why adopting a positive attitude is important.
You’re clearly over 6ft tall and you wear a size 15 shoe. How has this affected your baseball game? Has this helped with recruitment?
It’s definitely helped my game, especially when I’m jumping up to catch a ball that might be out of reach for others. I’ve played in All-State and Junior Future games for the past few years which has opened doors for collegiate coaches to see my athletic ability.
Can you dunk?
When did you first start getting involved with the Wood Family Foundation? Tell me about why you have decided to continue supporting our organization?
Our family started getting involved with WFF in the summer of 2012. Since my mom worked with them at Leo Burnett, we had the opportunity to volunteer at some of the past events. It was great to be with the kids, especially during the baseball clinics, where we showed them how much fun baseball could be. I’m continuing to support WFF because you really do help kids and the communities they live in.
What does supporting Chicagoland youth mean to you?
It’s important to me to help kids have a good childhood. I know some kids don’t have much or they live in dangerous neighborhoods, so doing what I can to make positive memories by teaching them skills, or making them laugh, means a lot to me. Especially when it involves a sport I love, baseball.
Who are you most looking forward to meeting at the event – Michael Barrett, Kerry Wood, Derrek Lee or Ted Lilly?
Derrek Lee, because we both play 1st base and have a love for hitting the long ball!
How long have you been participating in HR Derby’s? What kind of bat do you plan to use in the derby in May, and how many dingers do you think you will hit?
I’ve been participating in Home Run Derby’s since I was eleven. I took 1st place in an All-State home run derby which had 30 participants coming from six different states. I hit ten in a row, which put me in the lead. I will be using a composite bat and I think I will be hit about 15 dingers.
Is there an athlete you aspire to be like?
Retired first baseman, Paul Konerko.
Do you have any memorable experiences at Wrigley Field? What will it mean to actually play on the field?
When I was twelve, I participated in a baseball camp at Wrigley. During that camp, we were able to watch Ryan Dempster throw a bullpen. Having the opportunity to actually play on an MLB field and hit home runs is something I am really looking forward to.
Why should someone who is not familiar with the Wood Family Foundation support our programs?
By supporting WFF program’s, you’re strengthening local communities, which is important to our future. It sends a great message to our youth that there are people out there who care.~