Quakes OF, DJ Peters, Living His Dream with Dodgers
By Sammy O'Brien / Rancho Cucamonga Quakes | May 29, 2017 1:52 PM ET
At seven years old, DJ Peters walked into his Glendora home and said a phrase as old as childhood itself.
When he grew up, he wanted to play professional baseball. Then, in the same sentence, he dreamt even bigger.
"And he said he was going to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers," said Donnie Peters, DJ's father. "I told him what any dad would - you can be whatever you want as long as you work hard at it."
Fourteen years later, Peters finds himself living that dream, every day. As starting outfielder for the Quakes, Peters lingers just a couple steps away from the majors, and gets to play in his backyard while he awaits the call. But before Peters blows up among the likes of Joc, Puig, even Bellinger, fans should get to know the real hometown kid.
One of seven children, Peters recalled playing outside all day, constant beach trips and of course, watching the Dodgers.
"I became a Dodgers fan ever since I picked up a ball," Peters said. "My grandfather, a really big Dodger fan, brought me into the Dodger family. My very first Dodgers game was vs. the Diamondbacks - I still remember it to this day."
Two-time all-star, Shawn Green, was the Idol of young Peters, so much so that a 'Shawn Green bat' slept in his top bunk - not to be messed with by any of his siblings.
By the end of high school, the Chicago Cubs showed interest with a 36th round bid. A year later at Western Nevada CC, the Rangers mirrored the interest. Both were declined. So, after patiently waiting with a pending commitment to Cal St Fullerton his junior year, the dream came true in the 4th round.
"Twenty-nine other teams could have picked me," said Peters. "I could have signed two years prior, but it was not a fit for me as a player or a person. It feels like I was fit to be here for a little bit of time and playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers was always the goal and I felt like I was born to do that."
The west coast kid headed slightly east where he dazzled in Ogden before returning to LoanMart field, where Peters reminisced on long balls he hit back in high school. Now, the entire family looks forward to nights, while the hometown kid is routinely mobbed with fans wanting autographs. And he has yet to say no.
Though Dodger stadium is the end game, teammates and coaches love having the long-haired SoCal native in Rancho, for now.
"He is a goofball in the clubhouse but when it comes to game time, he gets down and dirty," said Drew Jackson. "He needs a trim, but for the most part it is always good to have a golden retriever on the team."
Manager, Drew Saylor, gawks at the natural gifts Peters was bestowed and praised the kind-hearted, strong-hearted teammate he is, saying he is a guy that other guys naturally gravitate towards.
At 7 years old, Peters called his shot. He stood 40 miles east of Dodger Stadium and just 20 miles west LoanMart field. At 21, the hometown kid is steps away from living the childhood dream.
"That would be the ultimate," Donnie said about the potential of seeing his son at Dodger Stadium. "Even where he is at right now, but to see him out there would be to see him live his dream."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.