Former Trojan Baseball Star Lou Collier takes part in MLB clinic at Triton
For five consecutive years, Triton College's Symonds-Puckett Field has been the site of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association's (MLBPAA) free Legends of Youth Clinic sponsored by the Hanover Insurance Group. Approximately 150 children attended the Chicago Clinic held at Triton on June 8.
The MLBPAA have former big leaguers work clinics nationwide to provide children with positive role models, where they talk to them about substance abuse, stress the importance of education and help them recognize they have the ability to make positive decisions. In addition, the clinics teach young ballplayers the game's fundamentals in a multi-station format.
However, for one MLB alumnus, being at Triton for the clinic had huge meaning. Former Trojan and seven-year pro Lou Collier participated in the event. Collier, a Chicago native and graduate of Vocational High School, transferred to Triton his sophomore year in 1993 and was a standout on a Trojan squad that finished 56-9, finishing second at the NJCAA Division I World Series.
"We had a really good run that season and it's always special to come back to your roots where it all started," the 39 year-old Collier said. "I've been back at Triton many times to help the team whenever Coach (Bob) Symonds asked me to, and now I'm back here today helping our youth. It has become full-circle."
In the 1993 season for the Trojans, Collier was a first team NJCAA All-American and ranked in the top 10 in the nation in hitting with a .469 average, 10 home runs and 53 runs batted in, playing all but three of the 65 games that year. Collier, who led the team in stolen bases with 38, was named NJCAA Player of the Year, First Team All-Region IV and Region IV MVP, along with being an all-tournament selection at the NJCAA Division I World Series.
"It was an extraordinary year, and for me coming in as a transfer, everyone I dealt with at Triton welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like I was at home," Collier said.
Later that summer, Collier was drafted in the 31st round by the Pittsburgh Pirates and made his Major League debut on June 28, 1997, after a three-year minor league stint. Collier played two seasons with the Pirates before joining the Milwaukee Brewers from 1999-2001. He then spent single seasons with the Montreal Expos (2002), Boston Red Sox (2003) and Philadelphia Phillies (2004). Collier then went on to play in Korea for another two seasons before retiring from baseball in 2007.
Today, Collier still resides in Chicago, living in the Hyde Park neighborhood, and is a scout for the Kansas City Royals. Collier also stays busy helping area youth through the Lou Collier Baseball Association. Created by Collier in 1992, the organization uses baseball to surround Chicago youth with positive role models and mentors so that each youth will have the opportunity to acquire the tools necessary to be successful in life.
"Anytime I can share what I've learned from playing baseball or give anything to help see a kid improve or to help them be successful is always great," Collier said. "Giving back is what it's all about."
For more information on Triton College Athletics, visit www.triton.edu/athletics or call Athletic Director Harry McGinnis at (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3784.