Growing up in Prince George's County, Dwaine Bacon always figured football would be the sport in which he'd be able to make his mark.
Instead, Bacon, a 1997 graduate of Bishop McNamara, has steadily become one of the most feared base stealers in the minors. Meantime, his twin brother, Waine, is a defensive back for the Indianapolis Colts.
"I didn't expect to be a baseball player, but I love it," Bacon said. "I decided it might be a safer way to go."
An outfielder for the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, Class AA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, Bacon has stolen 51 bases, best in the Southern League. Additionally, he is tied for the league lead with 73 walks, tied for first with 10 triples, fifth with 72 runs and tied for 10th with a .380 on-base percentage.
"Any way I can get on [base] increases my value to the team," Bacon said.
After high school, Dwaine Bacon chose to pursue baseball, which he played for Florida A&M. There, Bacon set the school record for steals in 2000, breaking the mark set by Vince Coleman.
Coleman was recently hired by the Cubs as a base running coach for the major league squad, but Bacon said he has talked to him throughout his career.
"He's someone who I've learned a lot from," Bacon said. "I try to pick up as much as I can from him."
Bacon was drafted by the Cubs in the 16th round in 2001, and he has been honing his craft ever since. After he was drafted, he taught himself to bat left-handed to increase his chances of reaching base. He has also worked on becoming a disciplined hitter to get on base more.
When on base, Bacon has worked on being smart enough to know when to run. This season, Bacon has converted on 76 percent of his steal attempts.
"Speed has a lot to do with it," Bacon said. "But you've got to know when to run, you've got to pick your times. If everyone knows it's going to happen, you have to be smart about it."