For the family of David and Alba Gonzalez, Little League has been a binding thread of their lives. Sons, David, Edgar and Adrian have thrived on the baseball field, with two reaching the Major Leagues, but it is the respect for the life lessons learned between the lines and reinforced by David, Sr., and Alba, that has earned them recognition as the 2012 George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year.
In recognition of the Gonzalezes enduring support and commitment to their children and the Little League program, they will be honored at the 66thLittle League Baseball World Series later this month in South Williamsport, Pa.
Mr. and Mrs. Gonzalez raised their children in Tijuana, Mexico and Bonita, Calif. Each of the boys played Little League, first in Otay Little League in Tijuana, and later in San Ysidro Little League when the family moved to the United States.
“For 14 years, it seemed like every weekend we were taking the kids to Little League games,” Mr. Gonzalez, who was a member of the Mexican National Team, said. “We had a lot of places to go for games with all three boys playing.
“My wife was team mother and was really involved,” Mr. Gonzalez said. “She was very dedicated to the kids … Even more than me. We are a very close as a family because of baseball, and I remember Little League as a beautiful time in our lives.”
David, Jr., 38, played baseball in college before suffering an arm injury. He is currently Administrative Director of the Gonzalez Sports Academy in Chula Vista, Calif. Edgar, 34, played two seasons with the San Diego Padres (2008-09), and is currently a member of the Japanese League’s Toyko Giants. Adrian, 30, is an All-Star first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers and one of the most feared hitters in Major League Baseball.
Adrian was traded from the Boston Red Sox to the Dodgers on the same day that his parents were honored in Williamsport.
“For parents to let their children experience life, and still be supportive and engaged without becoming an intrusion is many times a daunting and thankless challenge,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “For Mr. and Mrs. Gonzalez they discovered that balance early on, and gave their children the space to achieve and excel. As the Gonzalez children have shown, becoming a Major League Baseball player is an attainable dream, but during their time in Little League what was important was playing baseball and having fun. Mr. and Mrs. Gonzalez were there for children, and nurtured the balance between work ethic, the will to succeed and enjoying the game, and they did so in support of Little League. We are proud to present them with this award.”
The George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year Award was established in 1980 and is presented annually to the parents of a Major League Baseball player who were actively involved in their son’s Little League experience. The award is named in honor of the 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush, and former First Lady Barbara Bush. Both were Little League volunteers during their children’s early years in Midland, Texas, and continue to support Little League today.
More than the recognition of one set of parents annually, the George and Barbara Bush Parents of the Year Award is designed to be a symbolic recognition of the millions of mothers and fathers who each year respond to the call of parental duty and help provide a wholesome and healthy arena for leadership training for the children of their respective communities.
Past Recipients of the George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year Award
1981-Mr. & Mrs. Jack Schmidt (Mike Schmidt)
1982-Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Garvey (Steve Garvey)
1983-Mr. & Mrs. John Hernandez (Keith Hernandez)
1984-Mr. & Mrs. Max Palmer (Jim Palmer)
1985-Mr. & Mrs. James Carter (Gary Carter)
1986-Mr. & Mrs. Charles Murphy (Dale Murphy)
1987-Mr. & Mrs. Lynn Nolan Ryan, Sr. (Nolan Ryan)
1988-Mr. & Mrs. Orel Hershiser, Jr. (Orel Hershiser)
1989-Mr. & Mrs. Carl Yastrzemski (Carl Yastrzemski)
1990-Mr. & Mrs. Warren Scott (Mike Scott)
1991-Mr. & Mrs. Tony Drabek (Doug Drabek)
1992-Mr. & Mrs. Frank Dravecky (Dave Dravecky)
1993-Mr. & Mrs. Frank Thomas (Frank Thomas)
1994-Mr. & Mrs. John Olerud (John Olerud)
1995-Mr. & Mrs. Leonard Greenwell (Mike Greenwell)
1996-Mr. & Mrs. Malcolm Mussina (Mike Mussina)
1997-Mr. & Mrs. Lee Caminiti (Ken Caminiti)
1998-Dr. John & Mrs. Ginger McGwire (Mark McGwire)
1999-Mr. & Mrs. Charles Jeter (Derek Jeter)
2001-Mr. & Mrs. Carlos Delgado (Carlos Delgado)
2002-Mr. & Mrs. Eddie Hoffman (Trevor Hoffman)
2003-Mr. & Mrs. Joe Varitek (Jason Varitek)
2004-Mr. & Mrs. Charles Johnson, Sr. (Charles Johnson)
2005-Mr. & Mrs. Jose Valentin, Sr. (Jose & Javier Valentin)
2006-Ms. Joyce Guy (Dontrelle Willis)
2007-Mr. & Mrs. Gene Bonderman (Jeremy Bonderman)
2008-Mr. & Mrs. Richard Verlander (Justin Verlander)
2009-Mr. & Mrs. Dwight Inge (Brandon Inge)
2010-Mrs. Margie Sabathia-Lanier (CC Sabathia)
2011-Mr. and Mrs. Mike Victorino (Shane Victorino)