Former major-leaguer Barry Bonnell teaches the young players how to grip the bat when bunting. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

Passing the game on to kids | PHOTOS

Barry Bonnell roamed the outfield for 10 major-league seasons, including three years with the Seattle Mariners in the 1980s.

Following his big-league days, Bonnell has been an airline pilot, a Mormon bishop, an importer and other things.

Last Friday, he was a teacher, showing youngsters how to properly play the game he loves.

“It’s fun and it’s good to give back a little bit to the kids and teach them some things they are not otherwise going to get,” said the 63-year-old Bonnell, who lives in Redmond and volunteers his time to coach youth baseball.

Bonnell joined former major-leaguers Bob Reynolds and Joe Staton to lead the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association Legends for Youth Clinic at Kent’s Big League Edge indoor facility. The pros taught a group of 45 players, ranging in age from 6 to 16, how to hit, throw, field and run.

Bonnell, Reynolds and Staton combined to play 18 seasons, accumulating 837 hits in 1,131 games in the majors. Bonnell, who grew up near Cincinnati, had a good career playing for the Atlanta Braves (1977-79), Toronto Blue Jays (1980-83) and Mariners (1984-86).

The Seattle-born Reynolds was a former middle-relief pitcher who played for six major-league teams from 1969 to 1975. Staton, who also was born in Seattle, played first base for the Detroit Tigers in 1972 and ‘73.

Kent represented one of the 185 national and international clinics the series and the alumni put on throughout the year. Instruction comes from a pool of 500 to 600 MLB alumni. The clinics reach more than 16,000 children each year.

Asked to help out at the Kent camp, Bonnell, who began playing organized baseball at age 5, gladly stepped in.

“We got a lot of kids, and we’re rotating them through pretty fast,” Bonnell said. “We’re giving them just the basic fundamentals, but that’s what everything is built on anyway. I think it’s worthwhile. … If they show up and run around a little bit, that’s good for them. If they go away with something, that’s a bonus.”

 

Bob Reynolds, former major-leaguer, observes as kids take turns delivering pitches during the youth baseball clinic at Big League edge. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

Joe Staton, former major-leaguer, goes over fielding fundamentals. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter