Story by Chris Hamilton | Photo by Kirk Lee Aeder
“Poi Boy.” “The Pineapple Express.” “The Flyin’ Hawaiian.” A major contributor in the Philadelphia Phillies’ successful campaign to garner a World Series title, Maui’s own rainbow-colorful Shane Victorino is arguably—right now—the state’s most famous native son.
The cameras, national baseball commentators and especially hard-nosed Philly fans loved the gritty speedster from the Aloha State, while Victorino, who was born to working-class parents in Wailuku, says he relates to Philly.
The 1999 state track champion from St. Anthony High School (he would run between baseball innings to participate in track events and burn back to rejoin the game), Victorino recorded thirty-six stolen bases this season. He earned thirteen post-season RBIs, and snagged a Gold Glove for covering all that ground in center field. It was sweet reward for the times he had struggled to stay in the minors, let alone make it to the Big Show, after being drafted straight out of high school by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Maui County Council Member Michael Victorino is Shane’s proud father. “So many people came up to me; even kupuna [elders] who said they never even knew there were three outs in baseball, tell me they watched all the games on TV just to see Shane.”
Despite his newfound fame, the “Flyin’ Hawaiian” wants to just get back to baseball. “It’s important for me to be the best player I can be and represent Hawai‘i and my family.” But first, he made time to host November’s inaugural Shane Victorino’s A Round to Remember celebrity golf tournament. Held at the Makena Golf Course, the event was a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association, Aloha Chapter. (Victorino’s maternal grandmother suffered from the disease.)
“People can sense that [Shane] brings with him his aloha spirit,” says Michael Victorino, who draped lei around the necks of players and coaches after the Phillies won the series’ clincher.
What’s next for Victorino? Aside from lots of workouts in the Nevada sun, he made $480,000 this year and is eligible for a big payday in arbitration with his ball club. Not bad for a local poi boy.