The Real MVPs: Academy celebrates LaGrange star and the two strong women who helped make his baseball dreams come true

Published 9:49 pm Wednesday, May 10, 2023

A promise. 

LaGrange High senior baseball player Seth Stargell has been built on a promise he made to his mother and grandmother at a young age, a promise that he would go to college to play baseball. Fast forward to his final months as a high schooler before departing to play college baseball at Albany State, and he turned that promise into a gift for those two strong women that always stood in his corner. When he won a shopping spree at Academy Sports + Outdoors in Newnan because of his remarkable baseball journey, he knew the two women he would be sharing this moment with.

“Words cannot describe how much they mean to me,” Seth said. “Everything they have done for me (chokes up), it’s indescribable.”

Seth is soft spoken and often a man of few words, but he is also strong willed and even stronger in his convictions. He kept that promise. 

“I remember that promise,” Seth said. “I told them I would go to college, get an education, play baseball and then follow in the footsteps of my aunt and become a teacher.”

When his mother, Sabrina Stargell, remembered that promise, she remembered the young boy he once was and stopped to wipe away a tear realizing that he has more than lived up to his end of the promise.

Seth’s baseball career caught the attention of GHSA and through a partnership with Academy and Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (in which Albany State plays baseball), he was given a chance to treat his mother and grandmother, Gloria Stargell, to an early Mother’s Day surprise. 

“When we heard about Seth’s story and the role his mother and grandmother played in it, we knew that they would be the perfect family for this,” said Cody Reid, senior regional Marketing Specialist for Academy. “He has all the characteristics you want from a student-athlete on and off the field.”

SIAC Commissioner Anthony Hollman was also on hand to offer words of support and guidance to the LaGrange senior.

Seth has not had the point A to point Z journey that most baseball players have. He was born with a deformity in his left hand. Seth was bullied at a young age, which often made it difficult for young Seth, but his mother and grandmother gave him a guiding light to live by.

“He started to tell the bullies what we told him, ‘God gave me this hand,’” Gloria said. 

For most that would be the end of the baseball journey right there, but for Seth, it was just who he was, and if he outworked everybody else on the diamond and in the classroom, college opportunities would come. It is a testament to his belief in himself but also the support system he has had along the way.

“I don’t even have the words to explain what he has brought to us,” Sabrina said. “He’s truly amazing. He never let any challenges he faced in life stop him or slow him down.”

The bond between these three generations of Stargell’s is on selflessness. Seth made it clear that he did not want his mother or grandmother to purchase a single item for him. Their first destinations in the store? For Gloria, it was to get a new chair so should could sit more comfortably at Seth’s baseball game and for Sabrina it was straight to the clothing section to get some clothes for what is likely to be a sweltering day on Saturday when Seth and the Grangers take on Lovett High School in the AAAA state playoffs. 

With Seth’s time living at home winding down, Sabrina and Gloria are not ready to let go of him any time soon, making every hug that much tighter, every morning saying goodbye before school and work, that much sweeter. 

“Every day with Seth is a memory to cherish,” Gloria said. “He’s my pride and joy.”

Somewhat lost in all the love being spread was the fact that Seth also earned the LaGrange baseball team a $1,000 gift card to Academy to spend on new equipment. He will not be a part of the teams that get to use that new equipment, but unsurprisingly, Seth was excited to see how the Grangers use it.