SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Long before first baseman Rhys Hoskins was hitting opening day grand slams, he was hitting them out in his hometown.
“He hit one on top to the left of the light stand, we didn’t have lights when he played here, but to the left of that…on top in a game,” says Reggie Christiansen
Rhys left his mark at Sac State after being a three-sport star at Jesuit High School. Two years ago his journey to the bigs, culminated with the Phillies moving him out of position to left field just to make room for him in their lineup.
Rhys is back at first base now. At times making the jump to the big leagues look as easy as a walk in the park with his puppy, aptly named Rookie.
The heartbeat of the Phillies, he’s become a leader and a target.
In April, the Mets Jacob Rhame threw two pitches up and in at Hoskins.
He responding by swinging, not his fists, but his bat.
Followed by the slowest home run trot in recorded history.
“I’d be lying to you if I hadn’t replayed what could happen… Just me getting an opportunity to hit off the same guy the next night like what are the chances but I think once I hit it, I didn’t bat flip, I don’t really feel like I stared anybody down, just something that I thought I would enjoy the moment. If he’s gonna go at someone’s head someone’s gonna go at someone’s head with a pitch, I think you’re gonna have every right to enjoy the work that you did the next night,” says Hoskins.
While the west coast will always be home.
The east coast has been quick to take him in.
“I think the Kings will always have my first love. The Sixers are really really easy to root for. They got a ton of good players. And they’re really fun to watch,” says Hoskins.
Rhys hasn’t forgotten his roots. He’s brought them with him in the form of his work with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, work he started as a high school camp counselor.
Rhys says, “As much as it meant to all the families, ya know getting to see their kids be normal and be around other kids that are affected by some of the same diseases and just really be able to relate to them on a different level is something that really stuck with me.”
That relationship with MDA has stuck through his rise to the bigs… Rhys is hosting a Philadelphia MDA muscle walk for the second straight season.
“We’re blessed with a platform where we can reach a lot of people very quickly and I think it would be absolutely silly of us to not try to impact the community on some sort of level,” says Hoskins.
Now it’s just that matter of making an impact on the field that lasts beyond the regular season. Whether on a hot streak or in a slump, it’s rookie who helps this slugger keep what’s become his trademark California chill.
“Going home at night and seeing his smiling face. He doesn’t know or care what I did on the field, I think that kind of perspective is pretty valuable to have. Who doesn’t love a good dog?” asks Hoskins.