Web Extra: Mo(re) Vaughn

Photo by Aaron Bristol

We couldn’t fit all of our discussion with former Boston Red Sox All-Star first baseman Mo Vaughn into the March issue of Boca magazine. In this Web Extra, we share even more stories from the Hit Dog about his time in the big leagues and beyond.

On goals for athletes he coaches:

Are they all gonna be major leaguers? Absolutely not. But we can still teach them something going forward about how to work and operate and be a positive force in this great world that we have. 

On his involvement:

I think the main thing is that I’m here. I’m consistently here all the time. My coaches know. We all work together. We’re not an organization of individual coaches. 

On what his MLB experience brings to the training facility:

I played in a very hard tough media market 10 out of my 13 years in Boston Mass. which has formed my baseball mentality and attitude. And I bring that to them. They’re gonna feel what they need to feel.

On what sets Vaughn Sports Academy apart:

I think our hours are key. We’re open every day. Coaches have their own access codes. They can come in here and coach any time they want to. Baseball is a game where if you’re only going to open your bag two days a week, don’t play, because you’re not going to get what you need to get out of it. You have to love to practice to be good at the game. … We can’t help you if you don’t want to practice. We can’t just turn you into a baseball player. It has to come from inside. But whatever you need, we can give you. We have knowledge to help you through anything. To help you move forward.

On what’s most important for young players:

Everybody talks about success at the youth level, but it doesn’t mean anything. Because when you cross that threshold to play big league baseball, the game is completely different. It keeps moving. Until you get there. But are you ready when you get there? That’s the question.

On how he found success in the majors:

I got lucky. I overpowered the baseball my whole life, I was always the biggest kid on the team. … I went through college, then AAA, hitting, hitting, hitting. Then I got to the big leagues and I struggled. And then I met a batting coach in 1993 that taught me what I needed. They were going to send me out. Then I learned how to hit with the thinking of a big-league pitcher. … I changed my swing in two weeks. And I never stopped hitting until I got hurt. 

On his coaching philosophy:

I tell my son: “I’m not teaching you to hit youth pitching. I’m teaching you to hit major league pitching.” And he doesn’t know what the hell major league pitching is like, but I know. That’s what I’m setting up for. And It’s hard because if you look at the game the way I look at it, I understand why people struggle. I’m trying to eliminate that so they can go up the chain and have an opportunity to have success. It’s just an opportunity. You’ve got to do something with it, I can’t do it for you. But if you’re not set up right, as it gets harder, you’re going to get worse.

The better they are on the mound, the worse you’re going to get at the plate if you’re not set up right. And that’s what I’m trying to guard against. And that’s why I take hitting in the game as seriously as I do. Baseball’s fun, but it ain’t funny. It’s a fun game if played right, but it’s not funny. And if you don’t play it right, it looks like a disaster when you’re out there. A complete disaster. And we at VSA aren’t going to walk around like that. We’re going to know what we’re doing. 

This content was inspired by the March 2021 issue of Boca magazine. For more content like this, subscribe to the magazine.