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Camp has MLB flair

Former big- leaguers trying to help develop city's next crop of baseball stars.

August 11, 2010|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

After a combined 16 seasons in Major League Baseball you'd think Glendon Rusch and Matt Whisenant would just want to just relax and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

However, the two still hit the diamond on a day-to-day basis.

The only difference now is they're concerned about helping improve other athletes' games, not just their own.

The Full Count Baseball Academy was co-founded by Rusch and Whisenant. For the past year, Full Count has been hosting private lessons out of West Coast Sports Management in Pasadena, along with camps in the Foothills.

Whisenant is originally from La Cañada, graduating from La Cañada High. Rusch hails from Seattle and currently resides in La Cañada.

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The two first met when Whisenant was traded from the Florida Marlins to the Kansas City Royals, where Rusch was carving out a name for himself as a rookie.

Rusch's Major League debut came April 6, 1997, after being drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 1993. Toward the end of his career he bounced between starting and relief duties on the mound. He was a bit of a journeyman, splitting 12 seasons playing for the Royals, New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres before retiring after the 2009 season.

His best season came in 2000 with the Mets. He posted his season-best 4.01 earned-run average, 11 wins and 157 strikeouts in 1902/3 innings pitched.

Whisenant, originally drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1989, made his MLB debut on the July 4, 1997. He hung up his cleats after the 2000 season after spending four seasons of professional ball with the Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres and Marlins.

He spent his career as a relief pitcher, recording nine wins, a career 4.96 ERA with 114 strikeouts and three saves in 158 innings.

Over their two-year span as teammates, Rusch and Whisenant became best friends. During that time, Whisenant's wife introduced Rusch to her sister. The two hit it off and got married, which promoted the pair from friends to family.

After Rusch retired in 2009, the brothers-in-law saw their vision of starting a youth baseball academy in the Foothills come to fruition.

Recently, they have begun hosting a few camps. In early July, they arranged a pitcher's development camp and hosted their first rookie camp at the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge baseball fields from Aug. 2-4, which was sponsored by La Cañada Imports.

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