History teacher Richard Cabrera has been involved with baseball, either playing or coaching it, ever since it saved his life when he was eleven years old.
“It was a really bad situation. My parents were getting divorced. I was a troubled kid, and I got into a lot of fights. I was pretty antisocial,” Cabrera said.
Cabrera credits Sam Cali, who was doing the after school program at his school, as a great influence on baseball.
“One day, he started throwing the ball with me,” Cabrera said. “I ended up going to a tryout [for the team he coached,] and he picked me without watching me play. I sucked at first, but then it became live, love, eat, drink, and sleep baseball.” Cabrera’s respect for Cali is evident.
“Sam Cali saved my life. He did not have to say a word to me. He did not have to care about me, but he did. He is the reason I am the way I am. If it was not for him, my life could have gone a very different way,” he said.
Cabrera played baseball in Little League, in high school, and for two years in the independent league before injuring his shoulder. Later, he worked for the Marlins in their Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program, taking disadvantaged kids and introducing them to the sport.