south carolina baseball

kids say the darndest things...

Charlie Peters hangs on the dugout rail at TD Ameritrade Park dressed head-to-toe in a replica Gamecock uniform. He looks like any other batboy.

Ray Tanner first met Charlie in 2003, when he took his team to the Omaha Children’s Hospital to visit sick children during the CWS. Charlie was 5, bald and weak, with tubes hooked up to him to treat his Burkitt’s lymphoma. The aggressive and rare cancer left the boy with a tumor in his abdomen that spread, threatening to take his life. Complications from infections were as difficult as the cancer itself.

Tanner offered Charlie the chance to be an honorary batboy, an invitation quickly accepted. Charlie returned the favor by drawing a poster for USC’s players. It said, “Never give up.” Gamecock players took the message to heart. They carried the poster home that summer and hung it in the training room for motivation. In 2004, they returned to Omaha for the third consecutive season and found their young friend waiting for them. That meant nobody was happier than the Peters family when USC finally returned to the CWS last year. But the Gamecocks quickly lost their first game and appeared to be headed for a quick exit. That’s when Jenny Peters’ cell phone rang. Tanner was on the line looking for Charlie to return to the dugout.

“That meant the world to Charlie to be back,” she said. “He brought them another poster that said ‘Never give up.’”

“You see how something good has snowballed into such a big thing,” she said. “It doesn’t mean Charlie surviving cancer made them win or anything like that. It’s just this pay-it-forward kind of feel and the hope it gives.”

Charlie came by Tanner’s hotel room and gave him a new picture. As he looked at the new message, he couldn’t believe what he was reading. Tanner paused with emotion as he recounted the moment. “He had written on there, ‘You guys never gave up. You won it all,’” Tanner said, “I said, ‘We never gave up? Charlie, you’re the guy who never gave up. We were just playing a game.’”

that’s what it’s all about.


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