The childhood home of San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson sold for $4.138 million on Aug. 24.
The 2,390-square-foot rancher located in Palo Alto's Green Gables neighborhood had been the family's home for nearly 30 years and is where the two-time Major League Baseball World Series champion and All-Star player cultivated his love of the sport.
Pederson lived in the house with his parents and three siblings from about age 1 until age 18, when the Los Angeles Dodgers chose him in the 2010 MLB Draft straight out of Palo Alto High School. He made his major league debut as an outfielder with the Dodgers in 2014, where he played for seven seasons. He then played with the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves before joining his hometown team, the San Francisco Giants, in 2022.
Built in 1950, the single-story, four-bedroom home was a regular haunt for neighborhood kids during Pederson's school days. The cul-de-sac in front of the home had a spray-painted baseball diamond where the Pederson siblings and their friends would regularly play ball.
In the backyard, the family converted a portion of the property into a full batting practice area complete with a batting cage with netting and a 1,000-pound pitching machine mounted on a metal stand to simulate a 6-foot-tall pitcher. Inside, the home features a steam room that was used for pre-workout warmups.
Pederson's parents, Shelly and Stu, both from a long line of sports families, anticipated that their children would likely play sports, so they retrofitted the yard with the pitching machine by the time their oldest son, Champ, turned 7, his mom said.
Starting from the time when their children were very young, the Pederson home was the place where neighbors, Little League players and other youth athletes would come to practice, Shelly Pederson said.
Pederson's dad, also a Palo Alto High School grad and a former Dodgers outfielder who later coached baseball for Paly and Palo Alto Little League, would give batting lessons to local youth in the backyard. The family also hosted Pop Warner football players from East Palo Alto and surrounding neighborhoods at their home the night before games, said Shelly Pederson, a former athletic trainer whose father was a sports journalist from Stanford.
Exposed to sports at an early age, the Pederson children all played in Palo Alto Little League as well as other local sports leagues while growing up. Pederson's brother, Tyger, also was drafted by the Dodgers and is now assistant hitting coordinator for the Seattle Mariners. His oldest brother, Champ, who has has Down Syndrome, works for the Giants and is a public speaker for inclusion and advocacy. He created the "Live like a Champ" baseball attire to raise money for Best Buddies International, a nonprofit that promotes inclusion for people with disabilities. His sister, Jacey, played soccer for the UCLA Bruins.
"This was a great place to raise kids," Shelly Pederson said.
While the Iron Mike pitching machine was a big part of the Pederson family household, it was not included in the sale of the home. The Pedersons said someone did make an offer to buy it, but the family wanted to donate it someplace where it would benefit local youth.
On Friday, Aug. 25, the Ravenswood Little League club removed the pitching machine from the yard and transported it to its new home in East Palo Alto, where the league practices at Martin Luther King Park.
"It made me super happy that it's going right across the freeway, and kids there will benefit from it," said Shelly Pederson, who had reached out to the Giants to find a sports group that was in need of a pitching machine. "I'm so thrilled to hear that East Palo Alto has a league going on. They didn't have one back then."
She said East Palo Alto youth who wanted to play baseball had limited options when her children were young. Even those who attended Palo Alto schools through the Tinsley Volunteer Transfer Program didn't necessarily have the opportunity to participate in the Majors level of Palo Alto Little League, which is more competitive and has a limited number of open spots.
She said one of her son's classmates from East Palo Alto who played in the League's Minors level, was denied participation in the draft for the Majors with the rest of his teammates when he reached junior high school because a majority of the board, on which she and Stu served at the time, deemed he was ineligible due to his address.
Both Pedersons tried to get a waiver to allow the student to participate in the draft since he attended school in Palo Alto and should have been eligible, but the board voted against it, she said.
"That stuck with me. It's bothered me all these years," she said. "Seeing (the pitching machine) go to East Palo Alto feels like this has come full circle."