BELLEVILLE, IL (KPLR) – They are playing baseball in Belleville Monday night where more than 100 lucky young ballplayers are training with big leaguers for free.
It’s all because a dozen years ago you'd be seeing a talented young pitcher, Mike Kelley, throwing to a talented young catcher, his little brother Tom. Sadly, Mike passed away a year ago, at age 28.
Mike Kelley pitched for Coach Brett Isaacs at Althoff High School. A shoulder injury cut short his college career. But his love of baseball and helping others, especially young people, never wavered. He graduated from Illinois State and took a job working with kids with behavioral issues at a hospital in Springfield, Illinois. He was one of the few men diagnosed with colon cancer in his 20's.
Former cardinal, Jason Motte, who founded a charity to strike out cancer, befriended Mike and donated supplies to the camp.
Former Cubs pitcher and now Althoff coach, Randy Wells, didn't hesitate when asked to be part of what is a free camp.
It was the same for former Giants pitcher, Kirk Rueter.
To them, the Mike Kelley Foundation is at the heart of what makes baseball worth playing.