Deaf baseball player Tommy Barksdale playing to inspire
The Desert Sun
By Andrew L. John
February 9, 2015
Tommy Barksdale threw on a pair of shades, grabbed his glove and shuffled into the outfield at Palm Springs Stadium. It was the second week of the California Winter League.
Barksdale fielded fly balls and took batting practice before eventually leading the Palm Springs Power to a 3-1 victory over the Alberta Grizzly with three hits and a pair of RBIs.
Barksdale was the hero on that day and, from the stands, looked like every other player on the field. He’s 5-foot-9, weighs 190 pounds and wears a scruffy brown beard with shag under his cap that covers the tops of his ears.
But by now, his second year playing in the CWL, most of those watching his games have learned that there’s much more to Barksdale’s game than what lies on the surface. They’ve come to know that what Barksdale is doing on the field goes beyond the box scores and the daily games in front of professional scouts.
Many know that Barksdale is legally deaf, and that makes watching him play the game all the more inspiring.
“That’s one of the reasons I play,” said Barksdale, 24. “I like to inspire people — the deaf community, kids, anybody really. That’s part of my motivation, to show that nothing is impossible.”