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Baseball Fan Gives Back, One Skunk At A Time

Kevin Spencer is pictured with glove in hand, ready to catch a foul ball Wednesday evening at Russell E. Diethrick Jr. Baseball Park. Spencer prefers to go shirtless and claims people wouldn’t recognize him if he put a shirt on. He and his wife, LeAnn, collect balls knocked out of the park and returns them to youthful fans to get player autographs on at the end of the Tarp Skunks home games. P-J photo by Chirstopher Blakeslee

Collecting foul balls that land outside of Russell E. Diethrick Jr. Park during most Jamestown Tarp Skunk’s home games is where a Jamestown couple choose to spend their time.

Kevin and LeAnn Spencer can be found sitting outside Diethrick Park, parallel with the first-base line, in their folding chairs ready to catch and retrieve any foul balls they can. However, the Spencers have a reason for not going inside the park to watch games.

“Well, the wife and I collect all the balls we can, then we give them to children at the gate, so they can get autographs,” said Kevin Spencer, a resident of Jamestown. “During the Christmas in July week, we not only give back the fly balls we catch, but last year we gave away a new baseball glove as well. We’re planning on doing it again.”

Serving others appears to run within the familiar bloodlines for this married couple of more than 30 years.

“I served in the United States Marine Corps,” said Kevin Spencer. “My wife is the granddaughter of a former mayor of Jamestown. I guess you could say it’s in our blood to serve others.”

The Spencers’ acts of charity have caught the eye of Tarp Skunk officials and other baseball fans as well.

“It’s an amazing story,” said Gregory Peterson, attorney and baseball aficionado. “Here’s this guy who sits outside of the park, no shirt on and tattooed to the nines. … I couldn’t have been more wrong about him. It goes to show, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.”

However, as well meaning as the Spencers’ endeavors maybe, not all are happy about it.

“A season or two ago, the head coach asked me to give him the balls I collected back because he said they go for $20 to $25 each. But I told him no. It’s more important for me that these kids have a great experience. Nothing is more rewarding for a child than to get a ball, which was knocked into the bleacher stands or out of the park, and having it autographed by a player or the team.

The Spencers have been known to hit the road with the team, providing more opportunities to collect baseballs for youthful distribution.

“We travel with the team from time to time, on the road,” said Kevin Spencer. “If we get balls during these road trips then we add them to our Christmas in July ball giveaways,”

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