LaGrange College baseball star McKinley Erves is more than just a viral video

Published 8:50 am Saturday, April 2, 2022

LaGrange College baseball star McKinley Erves is more than just a viral video, he is one of the best baseball players to ever suit up in the red in black of the Panthers.

For years, Erves had no idea how bright the red of the jerseys was as he is red-green color blind. His friends went above and beyond for him and purchased glasses that would help him see colors that he missed his whole life. A video went viral as Erves was shocked and genuine when he first tried on the glasses.

“I went viral when my friend bought me color blind glasses for my birthday,” Erves said. “I’m really thankful for my friends doing that for me. It was really special.”

Erves did not realize what he was missing until he took the glasses out to the field and saw the bright red stitching on the ball and the jerseys he wore every home game.

Erves is not defined by this as he has turned out to be one of the best baseball players in LaGrange College history. It almost was not to be as Erves received just a single offer to play college ball out of high school. Panthers head coach David Kelton saw his potential when others did not.

“He’s one we saw a lot out of,” Kelton said. “We feel like we got a great one and a lot of people missed out.”

Despite this being his only offer, it was the best choice Erves has made and he has found a home in LaGrange.

“Looking back, it was probably the best option I could have ever asked for,” Erves said.

Since arriving on campus back in 2017, Erves has seen tremendous growth in his game on the diamond.

“My entire wing has grown since my freshman year,” he said. “I went from not having much power, but being able to hit well to really starting to open my swing up and hitting the ball over the fence and hitting the walls for doubles and triples.”

Evers has seen improvement at the plate but also in the field as well.

“Coming in, you can ask anybody that played with me, I didn’t have the best arm, probably one of the worst arms in the outfield,” Erves said. “I worked on that and strengthened my arm.”

Kelton has seen Erves grow on the field, but is even more impressed with his character. He came in as a high character individual, but Kelton has seen him grow into a leader for a team that has been ranked as high as no. 1 in the nation.

“You can see him and some of the older guys we have taking on that leadership and showing the younger guys how we do things in regards to the culture within our program,” Kelton said.

Erves is in what will likely be his last season as a Panther. He is taking the season one game at a time, but Kelton, who has major league experience, believes Erves should get a shot at the next level.

“My hope is that he gets that opportunity to continue to play this game at the next level,” Kelton said. “I definitely think he can do it if somebody just gives him the opportunity.”

Erves is more than just an athlete but hopes to stay around athletics when his baseball career ends. He designs the hype videos and cuts together other videos that go on LaGrange College social media apps. If playing baseball at the next level does not pan out, he hopes to work for a college or pro team as a video editor. Erves has already graduated with a degree in digital creative media and film in 2021 and is now working on a major in business.

“You have to hang the cleats up at some point, so staying on top of academics and getting a good education so that when that day comes you’re set and can live happy doing something else you love to do,” Erves said.