Home Before Henry Ford was a stud UVA first baseman, he was ‘the greatest Little League player of all-time in Charlottesville’

Before Henry Ford was a stud UVA first baseman, he was ‘the greatest Little League player of all-time in Charlottesville’

Chris Graham
henry ford uva baseball
Photo: Chris Graham/AFP

Henry Ford, the big UVA first baseman with 17 homers, a .339 batting average and 1.021 OPS this season, and the kid, mind you, is just a freshman, first caught the attention of UVA Baseball coach Brian O’Connor as the best player on the field in Little League.

Ford was all of 9 years old when O’Connor’s son, Dillon, first played against Ford, and the coach kept hearing “the buzz” about this player that everybody who saw him play talked about as being “the greatest Little League player of all-time in Charlottesville.”

“You all chuckle,” O’Connor said, making it clear, he was dead serious.

“I’m telling you, you think I’m nuts?” he said, more emphasis.

“It was the buzz every summer. He would hit three home runs right-handed and get bored and step up there and hit left-handed,” said O’Connor, who was somehow able to hold off on offering Ford a scholarship until Ford got to the eighth grade.

The way Ford tells it, it was a given that he was going to say yes to the offer.

Henry, as a 5-year-old, attended the 2011 College World Series with his father, Ryan, who pitched in college at William & Mary, and his uncle, Kevin, who played third base at UVA from 1993-1996.

“It’s definitely a dream come true,” Ford said after the team’s practice at Charles Schwab Field on Thursday, on the eve of the 2024 College World Series. “I was here in ’11 and experienced it from the stands, and it was a great event and one of the best experiences of my life. To be here and experience it on the field and have a chance to compete for a title is a blessing, and I don’t take it for granted. I’m truly grateful for it.”

That’s almost not fair, to have a kid rooting for the hometown team growing into a 6’5” power hitter.

“That was an easy commitment,” O’Connor said.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].

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