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Shane Victorino
Choosing baseball bats over surf boards

By Mike Scarr / MLB.com

One might expect a board, but Shane Victorino prefers a bat.

The Phillies outfielder is a native Hawaiian, born and raised in the town of Wailuku on the island of Maui. However, Victorino does not check the surf report before heading to the ballpark.

The Delaware River is not exactly conducive to a hollow six-foot swell. Of course, Victorino doesn't hit Terminals when the Phillies visit L.A., or Swamis or Garbage when his club is in San Diego, either.

Even back home, Victorino won't be seen paddling out at Kanaha because the "Flyin Hawaiian" is all about ball.

He doesn't surf.

"I went out bodyboarding once in a while, but I never found the love for surfing that others have," Victorino told Hana Hou!, the magazine of Hawaiian Airlines.

His heritage hasn't been forgotten, though. Victorino takes great pride in being from the 50th state, marveling at its beauty as he carries on the tradition of Hawaiian-born players.

Victorino is one of 35 players from the state of Hawaii who have played in the Majors. He was one of six in 2008, joining Rangers right-hander Scott Feldman, Royals first baseman Kila Ka'aihue, Tigers catcher Dane Sardinha, A's catcher Kurt Suzuki and Pirates right-hander Tyler Yates.

Like Victorino, Suzuki is from Wailuku. So was Tony Rego, who played for the St. Louis Browns in parts of the 1924 and '25 seasons.

The first Hawaiian was Johnnie Williams, a right-hander from Honolulu, who went 0-2 in four appearances with the Tigers in 1914.

Not one to look for a right break with a nice peak, Victorino hit the playing fields by age 8 and was a multi-sport star at St. Anthony's High School.

Age: 27

Hometown:
Wailuku, Hawaii

School: St. Anthony's High School (Hi.)

MLB Teams:
SD, PHI

Video | Player bio
Selected by the Dodgers in the sixth round of the 1999 Draft, Victorino made it to the Majors with the Padres in 2003 as a Rule 5 draftee. After his stint in San Diego lasted all of 36 games, he was sent back to the Dodgers and spent the next two seasons in the Minors.

Again subjected to the Rule 5 Draft, Victorino was taken by the Phillies at the end of 2004 and joined the big club as a September callup the following year.

By 2006, Victorino was a full-time big leaguer, making an impact with his speed and his strong defensive work. He helped the Phillies earn a postseason spot in each of the next two seasons and sparked the '08 club to its first World Series championship in 28 years.

What he hopes to provide is inspiration to those looking beyond the waves.

"When I go home, it's an honor to have young kids look up to me," Victorino told MLB.com. "Growing up, I looked up to those guys and said, 'Some day, I want to be like you.'"

Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.