Brewers prospect wants to spread baseball in his native Honduras – For The Win
MIAMI — Mauricio Dubon grew up in a baseball family, if not in a baseball hotbed. His father and his older brother played in their hometown of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, a city of over 700,000 people with, by Dubon’s estimate, no real baseball fields and only a couple of softball fields. Dubon loved the game and played it from the time he was four years old, playing with and studying the older players in his family and emulating American stars he watched on television, like Derek Jeter and Chipper Jones.
When Dubon was 15, a Christian mission group from California came to the fields in San Pedro Sula to donate equipment. Andy Ritchey, part of the mission, watched Dubon play and invited him to come stay with his family in the Sacramento area, where he could pursue his baseball dreams while playing at Capital Christian High School alongside Ritchey’s son Ben.
Dubon spoke little English when he left Honduras, and the transition to living with strangers in California was by no means easy.
“I cried myself to sleep for two weeks,” he said Sunday before the Futures Game at Marlins Park. “But I knew it was going to be worth it. I knew it was going to pay off. I always thought, if you want to be somewhere you’ve never been, you have to do something you’ve never done.”
Today, Dubon refers to Ben Ritchey as his brother, the Ritcheys’ older daughters as his sisters, and the Ritcheys as his second set of parents. The Ritcheys joined his biological family in the stands Sunday.
“They’re here,” he said excitedly. “Twenty people! Everybody.”
A speedy, slick-fielding infielder, Dubon went on to star at Capital Christian. After his senior season, the Red Sox selected him in the 26th round of the 2013 draft. He spent four seasons in their system, reaching Class AA in 2016 before an offseason trade put him in the Brewers organization. Now 22 years old and playing at Class AAA Colorado Springs, Dubon is a breath away from becoming only the second MLB player ever born in Honduras.
Dubon credits both his families for his ascent in baseball, and despite his young age, he recognizes a responsibility to help spread the game in his homeland. Every offseason, he returns to Honduras for a month and organizes a game: Dubon and his friends against former Indians prospect Mariano Gomez, also of San Pedro Sula, and his friends. Though he doesn’t drink himself, Dubon buys enough Salva Vida beer for everyone in attendance.
“I organize everything there, so I can bring people and show them how fun it is to be around baseball, and to play baseball professionally,” he said. “It’s free. They can go and watch the game, socialize, see how special the game is.”
“All the stuff you see here,” Dubon said, pointing to a locker full of gear before Sunday’s game, “I’ll give it away over there, so they can be appreciative. So someday, these kids want to do the same thing. (In Honduras) we see the big leagues as something, like, out of this world.”
Dubon ripped an opposite-field double in his first at-bat of the Futures Game on Sunday. A few rows back of third base, a group of 20 people stood and cheered and waved Honduran flags.