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Hampton Co. community honors MLB star John Dwight Smith

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HAMPTON COUNTY, SC (WTOC) – The Hampton County community is honoring the man who they say put their community on the map.

John Dwight Smith passed away at the age of 58 in July but today, his family and friends wanted to celebrate his life back where it all started.

Smith grew up in Varnville, South Carolina and played baseball for Wade Hampton High School before making it to the MLB and playing for the Chicago Cubs and closer to home with the Atlanta Braves.

While his baseball accomplishments were front and center his family spent time talking about his personality and what made him so special.

“Well, he was always outgoing and when he put his mind to something, he was going to do it and that was it, he was a well focused person,” Dwight’s Aunt Annie Smith said.

“And he was very kind, very giving, he was very, very loving,” Dwight’s Aunt Gale Smith-Buchner said.

“Always ready to go for his dreams, he always had big dreams and he pursued them with everything that he had, you know,” Dwight’s Brother Freddie Grant said.

That impact that his family felt was also felt by others in the community. Including his assistant high school principal and baseball coach from Hampton County.

“He always had a good spirit, and he loved the school and everybody at the school and everybody loved him, he was that type of fella, happy go lucky,” Dwight’s Assistant Principal Phillip Strother said.

“His attitude about life and his hard work to get where he got to the major leagues, not everybody has that talent, he had that talent but he also developed that and worked hard,” Dwight’s High School Baseball Coach Randy Vaughn said.

Friends and family say they hope his story inspires the next generation to chase after their dreams.