Malibu Sports Spotlight: Royce Clayton, Malibu Little League

Royce Clayton

Game at 8 a.m. Check. Game at 10:30 a.m. Check. Game at 1 p.m. Check. Talk about a full day.

Royce Clayton hasn’t been this busy since his days as a Major League shortstop. On any given Saturday at Malibu Bluffs Park, Clayton moves from diamond to diamond, watching with a keen eye on his children who play on three different Malibu Little League teams.

Clayton and his wife, Samantha, are the proud parents of Royce Jr., 10, and eight-year-old triplets Elijah, Imani and Niya. Royce Jr. plays for the Majors Phillies, Elijah on the AAA Braves and daughters Imani and Niya on the AA softball Nationals. Clayton also spends his time as an assistant coach for the AAA Braves.

As a 17-year MLB veteran who played for 11 ball clubs between 1991 and 2007, Clayton was a widely sought-after player because of his experience, talent, leadership and invaluable positive clubhouse presence.

Born in Burbank, Clayton began his career in San Francisco and played for the Giants for five years. In 1995, he led the National League in putouts by a shortstop with 223. Clayton duplicated that feat in 2000 as a member of the Texas Rangers when he led the American League with 265 putouts.

Four years later, Clayton ranked first among all National League shortstops with a .986 fielding percentage while playing for the Colorado Rockies.

Two of his brightest moments in baseball occurred when he represented the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1997 All-Star Game and was a member of the 2007 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox.

He played in 2,108 games and racked up 1,904 hits during his solid career. But he says nothing has been more special than being with his wife and seeing his four children play youth sports in Malibu.

The Malibu Times caught up with Clayton to discuss his big league career, MLL and his family.

Please talk about your career and life after the Major Leagues.

It’s everything I worked hard for. You play the game and as a kid you want to get to the big leagues. I was fortunate enough to play for a long time. As I reached a certain age, I realized that in some point in time I wanted to have a family. I met my wife 10 years into my career and toward the tail end we had the kids. After we won the World Series in 2007, I felt that all the hard work and the things I was working for was to raise my family. I didn’t have any more personal goals for the game. My personal goals became about the family.

What does it mean as a father to attend all of your children’s games?

I love it. It’s tough to manage four kids obviously with the schedules but we love spending our days here. Everything ends up working out. We enjoy it. We couldn’t think of a better place to be, having a Little League experience with the family. It’s a great place for the kids. Malibu Park and Rec has been great and the kids love whatever they are playing during that season.

Share your philosophy on coaching in the Malibu Little League.

When I started coaching with Mario (Miranda) and Steve (Prudholme) as far as helping, it wasn’t for me to say let’s go out and win every game. Rather, let’s teach the kids the basic fundamentals of baseball. With that come life lessons. You have to have discipline; you have to have respect for your teammates. That’s what we preach more so than anything. It’s not about balls and strikes. It’s more so respect and the discipline that is required to play the game, which you can take into life.  

Why did you choose Malibu as a place to retire?

I wanted to live here since I retired. It is home for me. I’m from L.A. I always wanted to raise my kids in a beach community because we love the ocean. It’s an ideal situation of what I dreamed about. It’s been everything I could ever expect and more. Everything I dreamed about and walked away from the game for is living here in Malibu. It’s been unbelievable.