Former Glendale Community College Gaucho shines at the major league level.

By The Voice Staff

Not many students aware that Glendale Community College has produced a Major League Baseball player.

Paul LoDuca had been co-player of the year in Arizona for his efforts as a senior in high school but didn’t receive any scholarship offers, so he attended Glendale Community College.

Here at GCC, LoDuca became a two-time junior college All-American and had led his team to a third place finish in the Junior College World Series in 1991.

“I would have to say in my 22 year coaching history, that the team that has stood out over the years was the Gaucho team of 1991, Paul was a part of that team. LoDuca was level headed and worked extremely hard.“

Gaucho baseball coach DaveGrant said. LoDucaended up at Arizona State. LoDuca worked hard and made first-team All-American and National College Player of The Year in 1993. He set school records with 129 hits and a .446 batting average — better than Barry Bonds, Reggie Jackson, Sal Bando, and the rest of the 70+ major leaguers Arizona State claimed to have produced. His reward? The Los Angeles Dodgers drafted him in the 25th round.

“My size had a lot to do with it,” said LoDuca. His 5’10” 185 frame was often overlooked.

“I’m a firm believer scouts thought I couldn’t get any better than I was in college,” LoDucasaid. He was buried in the Dodgers organization, with Mike Piazza and Todd Hundley as catchers he had to contend with for playing time. Paul had been trying to establish himself in the big leagues after spending the last three seasons shuttling between Los Angeles and the minors.

This year was different though.

“I never thought I was going to get a chance to play here,” he said. “I’ll be honest, I wanted to get traded, especially last year.” LoDuca is one of the main reasons for the Dodger’s success this year after Hundley got traded.

“It’s a total surprise,” teammate Gary Sheffield said. “He had never played every day in the big leagues, and he’s made the most of it.”

“All the stuff I’ve gone through, I don’t take anything for granted, believe me, I’m happy,” LoDuca said. “I’m just having fun. I love coming to the ballpark.”

LoDuca, though, hasn’t always been in the spotlight. He recalled that once in the minor leagues, his family said to him ‘You’re not out there hustling, you don’t want to be here.”

“My first thought was, if my wife could see it, everybody could see it. I changed my approach the next day.”

Another reason was because his mother Lucy died. His mother was so instrumental in developing his hitting fundamentals that, LoDuca considered quitting at that time, but his family urged him to continue.

LoDuca entered this season having played 76 games with the Dodgers in parts of three seasons, with a .241 average, five homers and 20 RBI. He never hit more than eight homers in any of his previous eight professional seasons, but already he has doubled that.

“I don’t think anybody could have said he would have the kind of success he’s had for us,” teammate Eric Karros said. “He didn’t quit. That would have been easy to do.”