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Future Rebel, OHS Baseball Player Has Ole Miss In His Blood

Grae Kessinger; Photo: Kristin Banks
Grae Kessinger; Photo: Kristin Banks

Kessinger is a name you have probably heard around Oxford, whether you are having a conversation about Real Estate or baseball. The Kessinger family is a baseball family, from grandfather to grandson and all in between the love of the game is in this family.

Obviously they are an influential family in our community.  First and foremost, they are great people, every one of them is a great person,” said Oxford High School baseball coach, Chris Baughman.

Coach Baughman has the opportunity to watch as one of the Kessinger’s starts to write his story.  Grae Kessinger is the Oxford High School shortstop that has committed to be a Rebel next year.  However, this is not where the story ends.

Don Kessinger, Grae’s grandfather, is a former Rebel and a 6-time MLB All Star.  He too played shortstop, but for the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, and Boston White Sox racking up an astonishing 15 years in the big leagues.  Now, Mr. Kessinger cleats are hung up, but not the love of the game that he shares with his grandson.

Grae Kessinger; Photo by Kristen Banks
Grae Kessinger; Photo by Kristen Banks

I just think you are born with the love of the game sometimes. One of the first words he [Grae] said was ball, so he’s been at this a long time,” Don Kessinger.  “You do the best you can with what God gave you, and I think He gave Grae a lot of talent.”

Grae does not take that talent for granted; he is a hard worker on the field and in the classroom.  Grae takes his talent and uses it to the best of his abilities, confidently, but humbly.

“He doesn’t ride on his last name. It doesn’t matter what his last name is,” Coach Baughman said. “He has a great skillset on the field, he leads the right way, and he works hard.”

Grae is not just a talented baseball player, but also a good kid.  He shows nothing, but respect to his elders and goes out of his way to talk to the little ones who look up to him.

“He is a yes or no sir kid.  He’s a role model for a lot of younger kids out there,” Coach Baughman said. “My son is three years old and I hope he looks up to him. I hope he tries to emulate the type of person he is, let alone the type of baseball player he is.”

Grae’s hard work has paid off with a scholarship to play baseball at Ole Miss, in hopes to one day follow in his grandfather’s footsteps of playing in the big leagues.  Oxford is lucky to have another Kessinger stay in town for a little longer.

“The history behind my family and their legacy is just incredible.  At the same time, I want to write my own chapter, make a name for myself,” Grae said. “My parents and my grandfather do a great job of letting me do my own thing.  It is never “I was here first” they are just really supportive and I’m very appreciative of that.”

Kristen Banks is a student at The Meek School of Journalism and New Media. She can be reached at knbanks@go.olemiss.edu.

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