Professional baseball player Leroy Stanton passed away in a car crash and left family, fans and community members devastated. With his memorial service scheduled for Wednesday at 11:00 a.m, people all across the nation are paying him their respect.
“It’s not just for TV. My father was that great of a man. He had a smile that would literally light up a room, and he could be friends with anyone. To see everyone coming together offering condolences and sending prayers. It’s a blessing, because he was a blessing,” said his daughter Lauren Stanton.
Stanton was 72 when he died.
According to his family, he was more than just a baseball player. He fell in love with his wife Thelma of 50 years at only 12 years old. The two stayed together and had three daughters. Stanton’s youngest daughter, Lauren said she will always remember his kind spirit.
“To me, my daddy was much more than baseball. But, baseball helped groom him into the man that he was. Not only was he a great friend, he was a great father, great husband, but he was an example of a man,” she said.
Baseball played a major role in Stanton’s life. He declined a college scholarship opportunity to play for the New York Mets in 1965. Additionally, he played for the Seattle Mariners, California Angels and Hanshin Tigers in Japan.
After he retired in 1979, he coached in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.
Stanton grew up in Latta and attended Latimer High School. Nearly a month before his death, the school inducted him into their Athletic Hall of Fame on February 18th.
Superintendent of the Latta School District Dr. John Kirby said they felt like Stanton had not been recognized by the community.
“He’s just an outstanding athlete, and he made his mark in the athletic world. He’s one of the handful that made it successfully at the professional level, and that just tells you how skilled of a player he was,” Kirby said.
The memorial service for Leroy Stanton will be at the Strive Hard Educational, Recreational and Enrichment Center in Florence tomorrow.