By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
Ever Maldonado is a winner, everywhere he goes. At 55 years old and the owner of his own roofing company for the past 21 years, with apologies to Lou Gehrig, he feels he is the luckiest guy on the face of the earth. Ever has been a quality catcher for the past 35 years and calls the Sacramento MSBL his home.
“I’m a lucky guy,” understates Maldonado. “I am able to manage a championship league team in the 18 and over division and I still play in the 45s. I moved to the United States when I was 18 and we ended up in Sacramento. You’ll never see me complaining about anything. I’m in a good place.”
I will now segue into my interview with Ever. I could sense his infectious smile pouring through the receiver and his positive attitude taking charge of things. If he told me once that he is fortunate to be enjoying his blessed life on and off the field, he told me a dozen times. Sacramento League President Alan Van Ness added a few words of introduction about Ever Maldonado.
“Ever is an at-large SMSBL board member because he is too valuable to assign just one position. He volunteers all year long with fields, teams, players, and finances, and is one of the best 55-year-old catchers in the world. That is my opinion of his playing abilities.
He is an even better person and has quietly helped this SMSBL grow beyond what I could have hoped for. Ever is living the American dream, he owns his own company, and has a beautiful wife and family that support his baseball passion.
He is one of the reasons many Latino players have jumped over to SMSBL, these last three or four years. Our Sacramento League has welcomed the former Cordova Baseball League, and now the Latino League teams and players.
On the field Ever has won Championships in our highest Nation Division in 18, 35, and 50 age divisions, both in the Sunday League and Night League. Sometimes he would catch 18s in the morning and 35s in the afternoon. Ever is a gifted personality and talent.”
A 10-year veteran of MSBL Ever takes pride in his coaching abilities as much as his playing accomplishments. His 18-over Red Sox team was formed only three years ago and has already won two championships.
“I like to keep the kids going and show them the right way to carry themselves on and off the field. Maybe as they move up in divisions and in life, they will remember a couple of things they were taught. I sure hope so. I think the 18’s are the most fun to be around but I still enjoy playing on the 45s and in national tournaments.”
Speaking of national tournaments, this year Ever is dipping his toe into the waters of the Father/Son division at the MSBL World Series in Arizona for the first time. His pedigree is long with the Sacramento Capitals (40s) and Bombers (55s) in Arizona and has also played for the Marlins, Dragons, Red Sox, and Bulldogs in Arizona, Vegas, Florida, and Palm Springs at the Desert Classic.
“I have two beautiful daughters who come to all of the games and tournaments but no sons. My nephew is playing on our first father/son team this year. It will be something special.”
Regarding Ever’s catching abilities, is he able to keep up with the young guns in the 18-over top division?
“Those guys still throw in the high-80’s and I do get a chance to catch them, along with my managing. I can still catch the gas. But we also have some guys in their 50s who throw nearly as hard on our other teams. I love the experience. All of my teammates are fantastic and so nice. But Alan (Van Ness) also has a pretty nasty knuckleball that can be a challenge to square up!”
Ever’s life philosophy is a thing of beauty and something you can’t ignore. The obvious question to him, as we concluded our time together, was if he had any advice for the players and their families as they read his feature story.
“You have to enjoy life and see everything. Don’t take one moment for granted. If you love baseball, beyond showing them how to play our great game, teach the kids to be nice people and enjoy the leagues. Any team you play for give 100%. Be a nice guy. Play for the team, not yourself. When you teach the kids the fundamentals, show them the best way to be nice on the field, too. Help people. Keep going. Make it a family event. Bring the grandkids and relatives. Make it special. When you have the support of the family, it becomes an event and not just a game.”