Clayton Kershaw became a superstar in Los Angeles, but he and his wife, Ellen, have made the Park Cities their home. They’re not hard to spot in the community, either, from volunteering to taking their kids to school and church, to popping in their favorite local spots like JD’s Chippery. To go along with the April cover story, we caught up with people who have shared memories with them along the way.
“Clayton and Ellen have been coming into our store for as long we can remember—we love seeing them, their kids, and extended family fill up our lobby with their smiles and joy. Both Clayton and Ellen sometimes have no kids with them or a whole car full. Whether it is a special date to JD’s for the two of them while the kids are in school or a sweet moment with their kids and their cousins after school or in summer, the entire Kershaw clan loves cookies, lemonades, and diet cokes! We love that they will pull up in flip flops on their golf cart after a summer trip to the pool. All the kids get a lemonade and a cookie. It is smiles all around.”-Amy Broad, owner of JD’s Chippery
“Here’s something that the average person does not know. He’s the best pitcher in the history of baseball in the last century. Here’s why: he has the lowest Earned Run Average since Walter Johnson. So when people watch Clayton and say, ‘well, he’s a really good pitcher,’ he’s not just a really good pitcher. He’s arguably one of the greatest pitchers of all time. And that is in addition to being one of the most generous, decent, kind, human beings I’ve ever met. What he and Ellen have done to stay in this community, to raise their kids here, to stand up this unbelievably generous foundation, Kershaw’s Challenge, helping those in need in Africa, and West Dallas, South Central Los Angeles, and the Dominican Republic, four areas that they care deeply about—I’ve never seen anything like it. Some Hall of Famers have foundations, but none are even close to how professionally run it is in order to give $2 million a year away to the underprivileged.”
“I’m just incredibly impressed with both Clayton and Ellen. They’ve always been who they were back in high school and it’s just so refreshing to see. When you walk into the room for a foundation meeting, there’s Clayton Kershaw. Again, the greatest pitcher of the last century, and he’s just the happiest, nicest, kindest guy you could ever meet. He cares deeply about the foundation and what they’re doing to affect lives in those areas. And he and Ellen are a wonderful team, and they’re always on the same page.”-Dale Petroskey, president and CEO of the Dallas Regional Chamber
“I taught Clayton in 2004 or 2005 while he was in 10th grade, he was a student in my English class. I have such good memories of having him as a student. There are a couple of things that were very special about 15-year-old Clayton. Number one, he had no ego about him. He was just a regular kid. He did not draw attention to himself. The other thing that was memorable about him is that he was a very consistent student. Everything that you’d hope for in a very low maintenance student. I can’t remember his grades. Here’s the most important thing that I tell people about my memory of Clayton, even in 10th grade, he was an extremely gifted writer. He had a very mature voice in his writing for a 15-year-old boy. It’s very interesting because my job at the time was to sculpt those voices and teach the grammatical and stylistic habits that build a college student or an academic. It was almost as though Clayton naturally had the ability to articulate himself as a mature human being even as a teenager. It doesn’t surprise me as I look at his accomplishments now and his foundations and even the things he does to give back to Highland Park. But it’s definitely the quintessential memory I have–his writing was just really impressive.”-Jim Lindsay, former English teacher at Highland Park High School
“This past December, Clayton and his two oldest kids did a special craft on-air. So the patients got crafts delivered to their rooms and Clayton and his kids did the crafts in our Seacrest Studios. Seacrest Studios is our area that broadcasts out to the rest of our patients for everybody sitting in their rooms to watch. It was so funny, they actually showed the kids how to do the craft live as it was broadcast out to the whole hospital. They had some patients that were actually in the studio with them too.”
“They are the most generous people and I don’t know how she [Ellen] does it. It’s part of the DNA of Ellen’s family. Her mom volunteered at Children’s back in the day when they were little. So they followed in her footsteps, which is super, super sweet.”-Michelle Gross, senior development officer for the Children’s Health Foundation
“Clayton volunteers in our cafeteria sometimes to help serve lunch, or monitor students. In the mornings I see him walking in. He’s usually carrying at least one of the kids’ backpacks on his back walking his kiddos to school. He has also spoken at the school. He talked about putting forth your best effort in everything that you do and not giving up. He is very much an active presence on our campus. When the kids see him in the cafeteria, they run up to him. They ask him questions about baseball.”
“They always make time for their family to be together, if he’s out of town, they make sure that they make time to be together as a family, even if the kids miss a day of school here or there. It’s just really special to see that his family is very important to him.”-Debbie Burt, principal of Hyer Elementary School
Have you met the Kershaw family? We want to hear your story. Comment below to tell us about your memorable run-in with Clayton and Ellen Kershaw.