Minor League Sports

Royce being Royce: Kernels shortstop, mom selling chains for charity

CEDAR RAPIDS — Here’s another example that Royce Lewis isn’t your stereotypical big-time, big-money first-round draft pick.

Like most baseball players, the Cedar Rapids Kernels shortstop wanted a necklace to wear around when he’s on the diamond or just out and about. It’s a style thing.

His idol being Derek Jeter, he looked into buying one of the retired hall of famer’s designer black diamond chains.

“My mom looked it up and said ‘Well, those are $4,000, $8,000,’” Lewis said Wednesday night, after his team’s 8-4 loss to Fort Wayne at Veterans Memorial Stadium. “So I was like ‘Yeah, probably not.’”

Keep in mind, the 19-year-old kid from Southern California signed with the Minnesota Twins for $6.7 million as the first-overall draft selection last summer. He definitely can afford some bling.

But that’s not Royce. Instead, he sports one simple, silver chrome necklace and a black one with a cross.

Both were made by his mother, Cindy.

“I was working out with Cody Bellinger (of the Los Angeles Dodgers) this past offseason,” Lewis said. “He calls me 1-1 (as in his draft status). He was like ‘Hey, 1-1, what are you doing wearing an $8,000 necklace? I just told him my mom made this one for $12 at Hobby Lobby.”

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Teammates and opponents began noticing the necklaces, so Lewis and his mom have decided to sell them. Three different styles of what are being called Humility Chains are available for either $20, $30 or $40.

Some proceeds are going to the Never Ever Give Up, Jessie Rees Foundation for childhood cancer patients. Rees died at the age of 12 after battling a pair of brain tumors.

“My mom is making them all right now,” Lewis said. “But I will definitely help her out in the offseason.”

Those interested in the Humility Chains can check them out on Etsy.

“I worked with NEGU in the offseason,” Lewis said. “I heard the story of the little girl and how she started her own foundation. She unfortunately passed, would have been 18 a few months ago. That touched our heart, and we wanted to donate through this business. I didn’t think this would blow up like it has. It’s pretty cool, pretty fun.”

Lewis went 2-for-5 Wednesday, including his ninth home run of the season, a 414-foot two-run shot to dead center field. Fort Wayne scored in each of the first four innings, pulling out for a 6-0 lead and coasting from there.

The teams play again Thursday night at 6:35.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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