Hometown Glory 7

LA Dodgers 
First Baseman has 
Chandler Roots

Cody Bellinger, first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers and recipient of the 2017 National League Rookie of the Year Award, started chasing his baseball dreams as a kid living in Chandler. His dreams, drive and hard work led him all the way to the World Series during his debut season.

His family has lived in Chandler for the past 22 years and Cody played baseball for several local teams, including Chandler National Little League (CNLL) and Hamilton High School’s baseball team. But he marks the 2007 Little League World Series (LLWS) as a pivotal moment for him. He was 11 years old and the experience made him think that playing baseball could be more than just a hobby.

“It was the first time being in front of cameras and fans. It gave me a taste of what the big leagues could be like,” says Cody.

His mom, Jennifer Bellinger, remembers it a little differently. She always saw it in him.

“He always enjoyed the game,” she says. “At a very young age he watched baseball on TV and mimicked the players’ batting stances.”

When she would ask Cody what he wanted to be when he grew up, it was “a baseball player, always a baseball player.”

But Jennifer also recognizes the significance the LLWS played in Cody’s journey.

“One of my proud moments was when Cody was on the CNLL, and the 2007 team worked so hard to get to the LLWS in Williamsport,” says Jennifer.

Cody considers himself lucky because he got an early start. His dad, Clay Bellinger, a former Major League Baseball player with the New York Yankees, helped him develop his skills.

“Clay spent countless hours in a batting cage and coaching him in Little League and through all of his young life,” says Jennifer.

Cody is also proud to be a product of Hamilton baseball.

“It’s a really good program. I had a good coach, Mike Woods,” says Cody.

His former baseball teams and his family’s support all helped Cody reach his dreams of playing Major League Baseball and competing in the ultimate games: the World Series.

“It was crazy. Houston and Los Angeles were electric. It was an awesome experience,” he says.

His family was able to share the moment and attended all the World Series games.

“The memorable moment for me was when we were in Chicago and we beat the Cubs to get to the World Series. I cried knowing how hard it is to get there,” says Jennifer. “What a blessing this entire season has been to him and for our family. Honestly, it’s still unreal to me that he was able to get to the pinnacle of baseball at such a young age.”

While Cody’s success has taken him far from home for much of the year, he hasn’t forgotten Chandler. When he’s home he loves to golf at Bear Creek Golf Complex or Ocotillo Golf Club. A few of his favorite places to eat are Los Favoritos Taco Shop and Blue 32 Sport Grill. And he offers some solid advice to local kids who are chasing their own baseball dreams.

“Baseball is a hard sport. If you’re struggling, keep going and push through the struggles,” says Cody.