MOUNT PLEASANT, TX (KLTV) - A familiar building on the side of TX 49 in Mount Pleasant, where baseball bats used to be produced, just received a professional makeover. Former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jess Todd will officially open the 33rd D-Bat baseball and softball batting facility on Saturday.
"This is something that I've always thought about doing. My wife and I we talked about it over the past couple of years. What are we going to do when the time does come to step away from the game? I knew the man that invented D-Bat and I played for their team back in 1990. So that's how we made contact and I just sent him an email asking him how does this work," said Jess Todd, Kilgore native and retired MLB pitcher.
Once Todd, had the information he needed it was just about picking a location and getting started. A Kilgore native , one would assume that's where Todd would set up shop. But with a D-Bat presence already established in Tyler, Jess wanted to address a part of Texas that needed such facilities.
"There was really nothing up here in the northeast part of Texas. You know not only Mount Pleasant but the surrounding towns. There are a lot of small towns around here and so we are kinda reaching out to everybody," said Todd.
While Todd's time in the majors may be over, he is looking forward to developing the leagues future talent.
"I will be here giving lessons, we have another guy giving lessons. And then we will have three softball instructors," said Todd.
"One of our really big things for seniors, is we hold an unsigned seniors camp. We get everybody we know, which Jess knows a lot of college coaches. We get them in here and then we get the unsigned seniors to show them what they got and a lot of them sign," said Erica Todd, Jess's wife and companion since junior college.
Looking to not only help the community, the Todd's hope if nothing else they have created place where where the game will always thrive.
"We're just hoping to teach kids about baseball and softball the proper techniques, and just the love for the game. That's really it," said Jess.