Josh Hunt: The Baseball Legend you probably never heard of

Finding great Baseball stories closer to Home

Every player has a story. While baseball is a common interest for many, getting to know the unique backgrounds and journeys to the field of other players brings additional substance to the game. Baseball is the greatest game to ever grace us with it's presence. But it's the people that play it that gives the sport life. 

You can easily find the stories of well known pro players throughout baseball, past and present. They can give inspiration to those that want to follow in their footsteps or those that want someone to root for. To some they are role models, villains, heros or heals. Some may be Legends.. The lore that follows these players helps invigorate the sport. 

I enjoy following my favorite baseball icons as much as anyone. It makes the game more enjoyable. As a player, watching them shows me what near perfection in the game looks like. The players breath life and excitement into the game.

But that's true at other levels of baseball, as well. Writers love to tell stories about the pros, the elite players, those that have found baseball glory or are on the path to it. 

But for me, meeting and learning the stories of ordinary people involved with baseball on the small stage is just as interesting and important. They are your neighbors. Your friends. People who work in the community. People you pass by every day. That's why I seek out stories like the Rippey Ruckus and write of people like the man you're about to read about.

Because every player has a story. 

I first met Josh Hunt a few years ago. He's a dad, a husband and a baseball guy. Over the last few years, I have gotten to know him a bit and learned more about his path through baseball. I have to tell you...He is a Legend.

Don't roll your eyes.. I mean that literally. He's a player for the SLO Legends in the San Luis Obispo (CA) MSBL, the 3-peat current league champions. Josh can play most positions, but is usually manning first base or throwing on the mound.

As a pitcher, he's not going to mow a hitter down with his speed, but he locates well, has a good breaking ball and can fool you with a knuckle ball. I am 1-2 against him hitting. Both times I put it in play on a liner to the right side. One got down, the other went straight to the right fielder. It may seem like I'm tooting my own horn, and maybe I am a bit. Mine was 1 of only 3 hits he gave up in his 4 innings that game. But I bring it up to make the point that, as a pitcher, he's good at getting you out. 

As a batter, he's a solid gap to gap hitter. If you leave a fastball up, he will make you pay for it. In one game last year, I watched helplessly from shortstop as Josh drilled 3 doubles to the right and left centerfield gaps off our #2 starter. He's one of the more consistent bats in the league. 

My first year playing as an adult, I only met him a couple times, when our teams played against each other. Last year, we didn't have an official season because of the pandemic. But as I've mentioned in previous articles  my team and other players in the league got together during the spring and summer at a local field. We had a sandlot summer. It felt like a throw back to playing as a kid when people would show up to the playground, pick teams and play until it was time to go home. 

Josh would come out and play on occasion during that summer. Sometimes he'd bring his son Aidan or invite out some kids he used to coach, who had moved on to high school or college. I started getting to know Josh during these games. We'd talk about baseball, the league or equipment. He was one of the first players in the league to swing an 805 Bat. His love and respect for the game of baseball was evident within the first few minutes of talking to him. 

The early years

This Legend was born in Torrance, CA. His family moved to Los Osos on the Central Coast before he started first grade. He still lives there now. 

His first baseball experience happened before he could even hold a baseball. He related it to me, saying, "My grandparents were only 40 when I was born and were diehard Angels fans. They were season ticket holders for many years. My first baseball experience happened in May of 1982, I was 5 months old. The Yankees were at the big A (the only time of year it was a sellout crowd). My grandpa was holding me as I was sleeping peacefully when a crack of the bat from a man named Reggie Jackson sent the crowd into a roar. They said you couldn't hear me screaming because of the crowd but my eyes were wide open and I was obviously pissed off because the Yankees had taken the lead. That probably explains my deep rooted hate for the NY organization".

Josh is a lifelong California/Anaheim/Los Angeles of Anaheim/ Los Angeles Angels fan. Yes, the team has an ongoing identity crises. But my dad was also a fan of the Halos and I loved Wally Joyner when I was growing up, so I don't hold it against him.

Growing up in Los Osos, he played on many youth teams. Towards the end of Little League, he was drafted #1 to the Dodgers in the little league majors division. That team won a championship. 

Josh is a right-handed thrower, but I've always seen him bat lefty. When I asked him why, he said he actually bats from both sides of the plate. When he was still young, his dad had him hit from the left side, thinking it would help his prospects for playing college ball. Josh said, "I guess you could say my dad suffered early on from DPD (delusional parent disorder)".

While it didn't get him to the pros, Josh did get chosen as an all star every year from age 8 to 15. He then went on to play football and basketball, in addition to baseball, at Morro Bay High School from 1996 until graduating in 2000. 

Many of Josh's favorite baseball memories come from his years as a kid.  

His favorite field that he ever played on was "Homerun field". It was on the blacktop at Baywood Elementary School. Josh explained, "Tether ball pole was 1st base, the end of the concrete handball court was 2nd base, the pillar in front on Mr. Aguire's 3rd grade class was 3rd base and a glove was home plate." He went further, "No parents, no umpires, no trophies, no rings. Just a group of kids playing hard for bragging rights."

One of the things unique to baseball is that every field has "ground rules". That was no different for Homerun Field. Homeruns were over the concrete wall into the ice plant. Slightly to the right, into the concrete stairs was an out. 

Josh retired from Homerun Field at the age of 13, according to him and the official statistics of the Baywood Association of Super Awesome Baseball Fun, #3 on the homerun list with 758 monster dingers. 

His favorite memory in his younger years came during a game during his junior year against Morro Bay High's rival, Mission Prep, a private school in San Luis Obispo.

In the last inning of that spring game. Morro Bay was behind by four runs and were down to their final 2 outs. Mission Prep's pitcher, working on a complete game, was getting tired and loaded the bases. With Josh coming up, Mission Prep brought in a hard throwing reliever to get the final outs. Josh stepped into the box and on the first pitch, drilled the incoming fastball over the right field fence for a game tying grand slam. The next batter sealed the deal with a walkoff homerun of his own to get the come from behind win for the Pirates. 

Isn't baseball great. As long as you have outs left, you've got life. 

The next stage

After graduating, Josh got married and had kids. He lost touch with baseball for a bit. But he had a good excuse, he was starting out his life, working on a career and building a family. 

Josh began getting the itch for baseball again when he was looking forward to coaching his daughter in T ball. Once his son got to baseball, Josh's love for the game blossomed.

He began coaching and getting further involved with youth baseball. He wanted to give his kids and the community's youth the same experience he had growing up. Once he got started, he was hard to stop.

After his first year of coaching, he was recruited to be a board member of the local little league. One thing that was evident to him from the start was that they were badly in need of better field management. The fields were in terrible shape at the time. Not good enough for the kids of Baywood and Los Osos. 

So Josh began researching, learning about field maintenance practices. He got on the phone with different suppliers and specialists to get a better foundation for what was needed to get the fields to their proper condition. He dove in head first in order to give the kids in the community a great place to play ball. After 13 years of doing this as a volunteer, he found a way to do it as a living when he landed his current job as the field manager of four city owned fields in San Luis Obispo. 

As he became more involved in the youth league, and enjoying working with kids, he met other parents, some of whom mentioned playing in an adult league in the county. They were mostly in their 20s and 30s. Josh, 32 at the time, took his son Aidan, 8, to go watch one of these adult league games. They were impressed by the level of play they saw on the field. On the drive home, Aidan told his Dad that he wanted him to play in the league. Josh thought he wasn't in the right shape for it and declined. But Aidan persisted.

Josh told his son, "Tell you what, if you hit a homerun in a game, I will go and tryout for a team." Josh thought it was a safe bet. He didn't quite know Aidan's determination. But he would soon see it in action.

"That was in August of 2013, fast forward to September, my son is playing in his first ever fall baseball game against a much older team. His last at bat, he connected on a fastball that rocketed deep over the left fielder's head. As he's rounding 3rd, he jumps and high fives me and he yells, 'You're playing!' I'm a man of my word. I went and played in the MSBL Winter league the following week. The rest is history."

Finding his adult baseball home

While still involved with youth baseball, Josh started playing Adult league baseball in SLO. And he hasn't looked back since. He played for a number of different teams. (Note: SLO MSBL used to play multiple seasons each year. Currently it has 1 combined spring/summer season) 

He played winter ball with the SLO Marlins. He then signed on with the 18+ SLO Nuts. They won four championships while he was on the team. He was traded to the 35+ SLO Royals for 1 season. He played tournaments in Palm Springs and Arizona with the Central Coast 805s. I must point out, that is a really cool name for a team. Just saying. 

He then decided to try his hand as a player-manager, bringing an expansion team to the league. The 18+ Central Coast Outlaws (the predecessor to the 35+ Outlaws team that I currently play on). He led the team for 3 seasons, winning back to back spring and summer championships. He's the first and only rookie manager of the league to be champion. The first to do it with an expansion team, too.  

He eventually sold the team to one of the players on the Outlaws and arrived he back on the SLO Royals 35+ team. The Royals changed their name to the SLO Legends and they are the current back to back to back league champions, the only team in league history to 3 peat. 

His favorite memory as an adult league player came in the final game of the Legend's first championship. He had only pitched 1 inning during the season. But in the deciding game for the trophy, Josh was called to the bump to secure the win. He threw nine innings, leading the Legends to victory. 

While juggling playing, coaching, work and family life, Josh finds ways to add even more to baseball. In the early summer, he organizes and runs the local MLB Pitch, Hit & Run and Jr. Homerun derby qualifiers. This year I went and watched this event. Dozens of kids came out and had a blast testing throwing accuracy, hitting distance and accuracy and their speed. Josh, along with volunteers from the Morro Bay JV baseball team kept it running smoothly. As the kids were finished their turns, they started floating away to another nearby field and started a pick up game, making up ground rules as more players came streaming in. That's the kind of baseball we can all root for. 

Morro Bay Alumni Game

Josh also worked to organize the first Morro Bay Alumni Game in 2019. In 2020, it was cancelled because of Covid, but it returned this year in November. Played between Alumni of Morro Bay High School and the current varsity squad, the 2 opposing pirate crews faced off to duel for the bragging rights. A BBQ and raffle go along with the game with proceeds going to the baseball program. 

This year's Alumni game was extra special for the Hunts. For the first time in an organized game, Josh was going to face off against his son, Aidan. The hype for this moment had been building for years.  

With Josh coming to the Plate for his third at bat of the game, the Morro Bay manager, brought in Aidan as a relief pitcher. Josh knew it was coming and the showdown, 14 years in the making finally here.

I asked Josh to describe what he was thinking when he came up to bat. His words sum up so much of the best that baseball offers us.

"I had so many thoughts in my head facing my son in this year's high school Alumni game. I was so proud of him, and wanted him to do well and not let the pressure get to him. But everything I taught him he put into play. He knew I would be sitting dead red on the fastball. He knew I would be swinging first pitch. He knew he had a job to do and that was to get me out. 

"I'm not gonna lie, I kinda got caught up in the moment. He had been saying for months that he was going to strike me out. I caught his bullpens since he was 6. I was confident but something was different. He wasn't a little boy anymore. He throws hard, so much so that I won't catch him without a mask and cup. I knew I couldn't let him throw it by me. So when he went into his windup, the past 12 years of baseball flashed before me in a blink and he threw me a perfectly placed change up down and in and I was so out front of it I nubbed it for a weak grounder to the 1B. He covered the bag and got me by 2 steps. He was pumped, I was proud of him. But when I went to give him a hug and say good job, he was feeling the emotion of winning the battle and kinda big leagued me with a push to the chest and a victory battle cry in my face. He earned it, but that s--t won't happen again little man. Bonding through baseball, our father son story."

The Alumni ended up pulling off the victory. The game itself and especially the matchup of father and son espouses one of the duties of those that cherish the game. One generation passing on the torch of the game to the next. I for one, hope that Josh returns to the Alumni squad for "the Showdown" part 2. I plan to be there if and when it happens. 

The place Josh most wants to play in the future is Arizona. While he's played there before, it's the Father-Son division of the World Series tournament he most looks forward to. In a couple of years, Josh and Aidan can compete as teammates for the first time.

Josh loved baseball as a child and teen. But he enjoys it more as an adult. He understands what goes into the game. The physical and mental preparation that's necessary. The grind of it. He also has a greater appreciation of being able to participate. He understands that playing is a privilege that not everyone has, whether because of physical limitations, family obligations financial drawbacks or other considerations. He says, "I'm turning 40 in January, and if someone would have told me 20 years ago that I would be playing hardball at 40, I would've had that person checked in for a psych evaluation."

Rounding 3B

I think many of us that still play as adults can relate to those thoughts. For us, baseball isn't just a game. It allows us to test ourselves, to connect with others and to continue enjoying an activity we grew up with. It gives us a chance to be a positive influence for people and our community. 

There are so many out there with stories like Josh's. People who use their love of baseball to create value for others.. Legends in their own communities. 

I'll be bring you more about the people on the ground level of the sport. Baseball can't only be told from the perspective of MLB. For a full appreciation, the spotlight needs to be shown on others who leave it all on the field. From t-ball, to school ball to old man ball.

Because, every player has a story. 


I hope you enjoyed learning about Josh's contributions and experiences as they relate to baseball. You can read more stories like his in the future by following.  The Middle Age Ball Player.

If you haven't already, I urge you and your friends to become more directly involved in the game, whether through volunteering for youth leagues or brushing off the glove and cleats to get back on the field.

Share Josh's story to inspire others to become more involved and become reacquainted with their love of the game. 


Play ball 


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