Greg Vaughn, former Major League All-Star Baseball player. He played for the Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies and Tampa Bay Rays. His career consisted of: 355 Home Runs, 1072 RBIs, 1731 Games, 1475 Hits and 15 Seasons. Our conversation was about so many different subjects. Police, race, baseball, golf, his businesses and so much more. He moved to Las Vegas 2 years ago and he is loving the weather and...
In his words: I was born and raised in Sacramento California and attend John F Kennedy High School and football was my favorite sport. I went to the University of Miami. I started in football and did both baseball and football. I was a great football player, could have gone anywhere in the country to play, but ended up switching to baseball because people said that I was a better football player and I don’t like people telling me what I can and can’t do so I ended up quitting football. I became the 4th pick in the MLB draft 1986. My first 8 years were in Milwaukee, it was awesome. I love the Midwest values and the people are awesome. Their core value of life, how hard they work. It was good for me. Good to be around Paul Molitor, Robin Yount, Dave Parker, Willie Randolph, Glen Braggs, Mike Felder and I was able to play with 5 guys from Sacramento in the big leagues. It was special because it was almost like a homecoming, to be able to play with guys you grew up with.
"My first 8 years were in Milwaukee, it was awesome. I love the Midwest values and the people are awesome. Their core value of life, how hard they work. It was good for me."
I grew up with a grandmother and a mother and uncles I had a father and a great stepfather that they told us the truth about what’s going on in the world right now, you know, with all this hate division… it was always there but we were educated on it. I think now It’s just more prevalent. People just say whatever they want to say. What makes America Great is all these different people from different places coming together and upgrading their quality of life also be an opportunity to strive to become to whatever they want to become. I was raised that way, I knew certain cities I couldn’t stop in, you know because in 1988 driving from Texas to Miami there were certain cities I couldn’t stop and get gas in because of racial injustice. We were educated on it but we’re still talking about things that my grandparents, my papa John lived to be 114 was a slave and just talking to him about what he went through and now I feel like we’re going backwards. I don’t have to understand it I respect the flag both of my grandparents served in the military and I have nieces and cousins that are serving as we speak. I have a ton of people that are in law-enforcement. It’s not about necessarily defunding police it’s about reforming the way certain police act because 99.9% are good. Deescalate instead of escalate because I’ve been profiled because of the cars I drive. I’ve been targeted and profiled just because of the color of my skin and people don’t know anything about me. To me that’s their problem but it’s also a problem because I also have two boys and a daughter and a grandson that I have to continue educating them in case certain situations happen. In 2020 we’re still talking about that. I feel if we had a leader that brought togetherness, we wouldn’t be in this situation but when you have a leader that loves division because then we can’t focus on what’s on hand and to make the stock market the most important thing in our country…
…to going from there to the University of Miami and played eight years in Milwaukee getting traded to…I thought I’d be a Brewer forever cause that’s what Robin [Yount] was, that was the only thing I knew and then getting traded to San Diego going back home to California was awesome being able to play in the World Series but my grandmother told me at 10 years old, life wasn’t fair, you know… and being an African-American kid and whether it was in business, whether it was in school, whether it was anything when I came down the choices, I had to outshine certain people tenfold and I knew that going in so, you know, we go to the World Series I’m the first person to hit 50 homeruns and get traded, you know I should have the key to the city and have basically a contract for as long as I wanted to because people with less numbers less stats were getting those things. And here I am getting traded, bouncing around and proving myself for a certain period of time. It’s not fair but all I can say is that I was prepared for it. Because that’s how I was raised and you know anybody that tells me I can’t do something… I take their negativity and turn it around and try to make a positive and I throw it in their face.
Like I said my village consists of Caucasians, Asians, Hispanics, African-Americans, Middle Eastern people, there’s so many people that played and made an influence in my life that I refuse to think the way that to make America great again our slogan is. America is great because of all these different people and I’m proud to be an American. People will say to me, it’s great for you because you made millions of dollars, what do you have to complain about. But my brother…take the finances out of it, it should be the same, period. Regardless of your financial background, regardless of where you grew up. The kids in my neighborhood should have the same opportunity and get the same education that everyone else is getting.
I have a lot of friends that I grew up with that are law enforcement, I’m on reform groups to not defund police but to reform police. To deescalate stuff instead of escalating. Because not every person that gets pulled over in the “Caucasian world” thinks that we are criminals and we want to be treated like human beings also you know not all of us are criminals because of the color of our skin. Like I said, I knew plenty of law-enforcement officers growing up. I was a typical teenager, having beers in the park or being somewhere that I should probably not be, and the cops would say hey, don’t ruin your life. And these were Caucasian men, Asian men, Hispanic men, African-American men, telling me that, not trying to ruin my life, but trying to help me not make mistakes, give me education and tell me how I can be productive and if I do this, then this is the path I’m going to go on. Let’s take a different path.
You know we have to get back into like I said the color of our skin makes us less of a person. It makes me want to throw up that people actually think they’re better than me or better than other people because of the color of their skin. I was always taught to treat people the way you want to be treated and that’s what’s missing because we don’t treat people how we want to be treated!
"African-American women are graduating at a rate of 90% from colleges and going into corporate America. African-American males are at eight or nine percent and we have to stop that."
What’s funny is the fact that he [President Trump] talks about how uneducated and stupid and how this and that. If his dad wasn’t who his dad was, he wouldn’t be able to afford business school and had accomplished some of the things that his dad paid the way for. So, to put people down continually to say let’s make America great again and to sit here and cry and play victim. I have a hard time with it but us as African American people, we have to do a better job as well. We have to start being educated, we African American men have to do a better job being fathers, being leaders. Taking the bull by the horns and going out there and putting ourselves in positions so that we can stop the cycle and get our African-American men to stay out of prison and jails and be productive as a society. African-American women are graduating at a rate of 90% from colleges and going into corporate America. African-American males are at eight or nine percent and we have to stop that. Hindsight is 20/20, we don’t have the same opportunities growing up, we don’t have fathers at home, we don’t have that village that we did when I was growing up. We have to find a way to implement that and make people aware that these kids need the same opportunities. I was watching a show last night with all these murders and killings in Chicago come on man we’re better than that we’ve got to do better than that. We have to do better than that!
I give scholarships to kids, the scholarships with me are non-athletic scholarships they are for lower income families that have lived below the property line. And make sure that these kids will have an opportunity to go to college because her parents will not be able to pay for it so they should have an opportunity and we should have programs for them to be able to get into universities.
I started Vaughn’s Valley, we fed over 500,000 people during Covid. I opened a company called Restore which I have one in Sacramento and I’m bringing two to Las Vegas as we speak and hopefully a couple other different areas. It’s basically wellness and beauty to give to the public that professional athletes get, you know, from the cryo to the float tanks to the red light to the IVs. And you know, it’s essential because I passed out free immune system IVs to all of the first responders. Whether they were nurses, doctors, anybody that was trying to help people, first responders, firemen, policemen, they got free IVs to keep them healthy so they can go out there and help people with this pandemic. I’m trying to do my part, I’m proud to be from Sacramento and I’m proud to be part of the Vegas community now. I’m proud to live in Anthem Country Club. I’m proud to inspire and try to help people. My Golf Tournament that I cancelled because of all of the different situations this year that I have in Sacramento, and eventually have one in Milwaukee, hopefully San Diego and have one here. And I’m fortunate enough to have people like Charles Blitzen, Jerome Bettis, Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie George, Doug Christie, Nick Johnson, Derek Lee, just so many people that come out and help support. And also, to be a minority owner of a major franchise team in your own hometown. Sac Republic FC, we were awarded an expansion franchise and to be able to have ownership in that. So, not just to be proud to say that I’m from Sacramento, but to show other people of color that grew up in neighborhoods like I grew up that you can accomplish certain things.
But education is important. Sports is part of it but, I love the fact that people like LeBron are being outspoken. People like Colin Kaepernick who, to me might be one of the most influential people, at making a difference in our era... then you go back to Mohamed Ali. It’s a situation where, people are going to disagree with me on that. People are going to hate me for that. People are going to not want to be my friend because I said that. Because all he was trying to do was to bring awareness on what was happening. But people did not want to talk about that so they made it about something else. And this is why we have what we have right now. Because they didn’t want to listen. He [Colin] is still not with a team, he’s been blackballed. But I was taught that also, I was taught that in baseball, I was taught that by Glenn Braggs, Mike Felder, Cecil Cooper, Willie McGee, Dave Parker, Reggie Jackson, Ricky Henderson, Dave Stewart, Joe Carter, you know… we’re not in a position to become a problem. Because this is their game, and they’ll take it away from us. And I understood that. So, but I’m in a position now to speak my mind. Like it said, I go back and forth with people back home. I’m on Boards at City Hall, I passed out over a hundred thousand things of PPE for our essential healthcare workers, and people yet, still want to criticize, and they’re not out there doing anything. That’s why I just laugh. They’re not doing anything, but they want to criticize my views and my values. And they have the right to because, you know what? I’m not going to be like them. People died on that flag for them to have that opportunity and have the right to believe what they want to believe. They also died for me to have the right to feel the way that I feel.
So, going from San Diego and being bitter for being the first person to hit 50 homeruns and being traded, then going to Marge Schott who was suspended for being a racist, I loved the people and the city of Cincinnati. I didn’t know what to expect. It was one of the best times I’ve ever had in my life playing baseball with my teammates. Sean Casey, Demetri Leon, Aaron Boone, Barry Larkin and the history and tradition was phenomenal. I didn’t want to leave San Diego because I’m a California kid. I loved my teammates, I loved Bosch, I loved Trevor, Tony Gwynn, I loved the city of San Diego and you know, it was, I felt betrayed, I felt like here we go again, here goes that race-card again. You know, to hit fifty home runs, did what I was supposed to do and I get traded. And you know, but that’s life, I never felt sorry for myself. You know, I understand, this is the way it is, you know I was blessed to play major league baseball. I have nothing to say but great things about Major League Baseball, except the fact that we need more minorities in the game. Players, and on the other side. Because if I’m an African American player, which some teams have zero, some teams have one… who does that player go to. They can sit there and say they understand... they don’t understand…they don’t understand what we’re going through. And hopefully Commissioner Manfred and Major League Baseball and my boy TC, Tony Clark and the players association, we can start getting people in positions. Whether its in a minor league whether its in development, there can be people of color, in special assistants and of all the teams we have. I know there are people with less credentials than I have that are special assistants and get the opportunity, they didn’t even have to apply for it, they just threw it to them. So, they wonder why we feel the way we feel? We’re angry because we DON’T get the same opportunities, we’re not presented with the same opportunities, and it goes back to we hate the police, no we don’t hate the police, we’re tired of police killing our people and young men that aren’t necessarily pulling guns on them, and doing things to them and nothing happening.
"I started the Vaughn’s Valley Foundation for type I diabetes because my oldest son, Cory has Type I. We were able to expand on diabetes and go towards whatever is going on in society. I wanted my foundation to be able to stand up and deliver, whether its sending goods to Puerto Rico, whether is getting food and doing things and giving people survival kits for the fires in California"
It’s about a third-party entity overlooking the corruption and the misconduct of what’s going on in our law enforcement. When you have the shield, basically interviewing the shield, to find out if they’re guilty or not guilty. It doesn’t happen. It’s that 2 ½ percent who are ruining it for everyone and making us not trust them. What we don’t want to hear… we’re tired of suspension with pay and not guilty. Probable cause. I’m going to say, it IS hard to be a police officer, it IS hard to do what they do, but when you have a guy that has 18 prior misconduct violations and he still has a gun and he’s still out there on the street. That’s something wrong with our law enforcement agencies. I respect law enforcement, and I respect the job that they do, and I don’t think that defunding them is the answer. I think take that money and start putting it into reform. Reform the way our police officers conduct and pull people over. Cause like I said, depends on what car I’m in… first thing… match the profile. Why am I being pulled over? Match the profile, report of a car being stolen, then they find out who I am after I give it to them, when they run something and I’m not but the way that they even approach me and talk to me, like I’m a piece of crap. And me being a human being, and me being a man, I TRY my best to not overreact and be a smartass. But sometimes I can be having a bad day and I’m like who’s driving, this is America, I have the right to have this car. I have the right to not be harassed by you. I have the right to live where I want to live. But with that being said…
I started the foundation for type I diabetes because my oldest son, Cory has Type I . Vaughn’s Valley Foundation. And we were able to, like I said, expand on diabetes and go towards whatever is going on in society. I wanted my foundation to be able to stand up and deliver, whether its sending goods to Puerto Rico when they had the hurricane. Whether is getting food and doing things and giving people survival kits for the fires in California. Whether its raising money and helping to find the cure for Type I diabetes. Whether It’s buying whiteboards and Chromebooks for kids in school districts that aren’t well enough because we “don’t pay enough taxed in California”. For every school district to have the same opportunity. So, when people judge me, I laugh but they also have the right for that flag to say what they want to say. But they have to understand, I’m educated, I own businesses, and they can’t insult me, they can’t tell me I’m not smart. And they can’t dumb me down. So, I’ll have any conversation, any debate with anybody at any time. And, like I said, I will also respect them, and I’m also a person of Christ that learned that I have to be able to respect people that have a different opinion then I have. And what they do with that, if they respect me or not, that’s still on them. That’s not on me.
"I just feel California is becoming such a money pit, and it’s so expensive to really fulfill and live out your dream with all of the taxes, the water tax, the gas tax, this tax, that tax, and I don’t see it being put back into the community."
I asked Greg, “what was the original reason why decided to move to Las Vegas”. He said…The original reason why I moved to Las Vegas is because I have a lot of friends here. I LOVE to golf. I love good weather. And I also love... the cost of living is and the regulations are so much different than California. I just feel California is becoming such a money pit, and it’s so expensive to really fulfill and live out your dream with all of the taxes, the water tax, the gas tax, this tax, that tax, and I don’t see it being put back into the community. They just make up more taxes. The things you have to go through and jump through to run a business. I’m proud to be from California but, you know, opening up two businesses here, and who knows what else is going to happen. I’m looking to become a dual-resident, if not a full-time resident of Nevada. You know what I mean, and I love the golf courses and all of the people that I’ve met here are super nice. I’ve had the house for 2 years now and I haven’t been to the Strip. I like cars. But I love Summerlin I love Henderson, I love this area that I moved to and I love the people around it. And like I said, whether their views are Republican or Democrat or political, I’m Independent. They have that right. But so far, I’ve been treated with respect here. And that’s one thing that I adore about being here. So, moving to Las Vegas, it’s kind of like a fresh start. I’m proud to be from California, I’m proud to be from Sacramento, that’s my hometown. I will always try to make a difference, even in Vegas, I’ll try and make a difference. No matter where I go, I will always try to make it better when I leave then it was when I came. You know what I mean, and Vaughn’s Valley, that’s what it’s about.
You know, Restore as a business, I’m into health and beauty and to be able to do cryo and red-light treatment for women. And to be able to open one up here in Henderson, is a great opportunity for me to be able to provide that to High School, College Athletes, but just to the general public. You know, to be able to go workout and go through the red-light treatment of standing there and having the layers of skin peeled off you and red-light saunas and the float tanks and the IVs. All the nutrients and the stuff that we lose that we take and we spend billions of dollars on over the counter that we don’t necessarily absorb because we end up urinating it out, whereas when you get IVs and you get certain things and you get them put through intravenously through a needle, your absorption rate is 99%. So, it’s a way to help people. From B complexes to whether you have cancer, whether you have allergies, we have a lipo shot to help you lose weight and it falls off. You can get it twice a week. You get a shot in the butt, it doesn’t hurt. There are so many things that we’re doing that I’m excited about. We’re still doing, we have an antihistamine that you can rub on your arm for allergies. Instead of taking all of those bad allergy shots. So, we have doctors and we have people that are constantly developing stuff to make us have a little bit healthier quality of life. There will be a membership type of sign up or you just pick and choose what you want to do. You can go there for just a cryo treatment, you can go for just a lipo shot. Our target opening date is in a couple of months. [the address for Restore: 2280 Paseo Verde Pkwy Unit 120 Henderson, NV]
So here we go with the 21 questions: (ooor full-house of questions)
STACY: How long have you lived in the Las Vegas area?
GREG: 2 years, but I go back and forth
STACY: Are you married?
STACY: Any kids? Ages?
GREG: Yes, 3. Cory 31 going into the Fire Academy, Jenay 26, rides for Team USA Equestrian Dressage and trains and competes on horses, and Little Greg, is 24 and is pursuing his dream of becoming a major league baseball player. Cory played AAA baseball and decided he wants to pursue being a fireman. My father was a Fire Captain. He has given me a beautiful grandson, named Major, who is the sparkle in my eye.
STACY: Other homes/where?
GREG: Just the one here in Henderson, and still go back and forth to Sacramento. Trying to simplify my life.
STACY: Where you grew up?
STACY: College/School? Picture?
GREG: University of Miami
STACY: What brought you here?
GREG: My businesses, the weather, being able to play golf, the golf courses. Having a ton of friends here and just, all of the taxes that we pay in California and everything that we do, I don’t see a big difference, I don’t see it going back into our neighborhoods and our kids get the same education by having the programs to help them prosper and be given the chance to succeed in life.
STACY: Pets? What?
GREG: I have 2 Rottweilers. Apollo is the 7-year-old and a 9-month-old, Nevaeh that’s Heaven spelled backwards. All protection trained, working dogs, great dogs, family dogs, bad rep, but if you break into my house or you do something that you’re not supposed to be doing, they’re going to do what they re supposed to do.
STACY: Business owner?
GREG: I own Restore California, Restore Las Vegas, minority owner of Sac Republic FC, Major league soccer franchise. I own part of LVBLSD minority owner of that, with Brandon Wells, and Cedric the Entertainer and some other guys but it’s Life Values Build Love Strength and Determination. And Vaughn’s Valley Foundation.
GREG: Golf, fishing and spending quality time with family and friends
STACY: Something not many know about you? Weird talent?
GREG: I LOVE Pickleball. I’m having trauma, because I thought I was shot or something and I turned around and there was no ball around, I took a step and I tore the muscle between my achilleas and my calf, and that’s not Pickleball’s fault, that’s just being old. But I love Pickleball, I built a court at my house. I play 4 or 5 times a week. [and he’s thinking of organizing a fundraiser Pickleball tournament]
STACY: do you have an unusual trait?
GREG: I don’t like stepping on lines and I am gluten and dairy free
STACY: Favorite Food? Weirdest you ever ate? Favorite Restaurant?
GREG: favorite food would have to be family cook-offs and soul food that I was raised on. -Weirdest food: was Japanese fermented beans. I only ate them out of respect for my friends father. -Favorite restaurant: Hanks in Green Valley Casino and Blume
STACY: Favorite Cocktail?
GREG: Gluten free Tito's and soda with 2 limes, gluten-free baby!
STACY: who is your favorite sports Team?
GREG: 49ers, Giants, Sacramento Kings and all the teams I played for. But I have a lot of Raider friends in Vegas, I’m excited, I’m becoming a Raiders fan and a Knights fan too... I’m a Vegas fan. I never thought I could become a Raider fan… I’m a 49ers fan but I’m becoming a Raiders fan, I have a lot of Raiders friends.
STACY: how was your life growing up?
GREG: My parents got divorced when I was 12, my father was a fire captain, mom worked at UC Davis my stepdad was phenomenal, he worked in education and I had a tremendous supports system from uncles to coaches to counselors to secretaries and deans who played an important roll in my life, from neighbors, like I said, my family. I had a great support system.
I’m 55, double-nickel, [he's fitting right into the Vegas life] shit, I can almost start eating at 4 o'clock!
My brother is 54, My sister is 52 and I have another brother Michael a step brother he’s 50
STACY: If you could have one, what would be your super power?
GREG: to make the world more God-like
STACY: Who is your super hero?
GREG: My mother
STACY: What was the last gift you gave someone?
GREG: Paid for a meal for a family at a restaurant, and left without them knowing who did it. doing something nice without wanting something in return. And buying whiteboards and Chromebooks for kids at school.
STACY: If you won a $10 million dollar Wheel of Fortune Jackpot, what would you do with the money?
GREG: use it to make the world a better place.
STACY: What do you wear to bed?
STACY: What is one thing on your Bucket List?
GREG: Go to the Masters and go to Wimbledon.
STACY: Toilet paper over or under?
GREG: Under [I just totally lost respect for him LOL]
STACY: Have you ever been arrested?
STACY: Can you make your armpit fart?
STACY: Do you speak another language?
STACY: What is the weirdest thing you ever wore?
GREG: If you ask Johnny Adams my old trainer, he’d put on my outfits and come into the dugout , probably too many to name. I like weird outfits. (see photo)
STACY: If I looked in your refrigerator, what would I find?
GREG: apple cider vinegar, water, almond milk, fish, chicken, kale, broccoli, fruit and vegetables
STACY: If you were offered to be on a reality show which one would you choose?
STACY: How many pairs of shoes do you own?
GREG: too many... I probably have 85 pairs of golf shoes alone…
STACY: Athletes: What players influenced you growing up?
GREG: Walter Payton, Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Ricky Henderson,
STACY: Athletes: Any pre-game rituals?
GREG: Watch tapes... Dave Winfield told me my rookie year to watch nothing but positive things happening to you on the baseball field and mental imagery. I did that every day, so people new not to mess with me for about an hour and fifteen minutes before the game because I’m watching nothing but hits.
STACY: Athletes: Any advice for young athletes?
GREG: enjoy it, have fun, be your own brand, and know your business inside and out and also don’t forget where you came from and give back. Own it so you can go back and make a difference in your community
STACY: Athletes: What was your weirdest fan-moment?
GREG: I had surgery in Wisconsin and woke up from anesthesia and there was a family standing over me in my hospital room. I don’t even know how they got in there and how they even knew that I had surgery.
We hope that you enjoyed this short insight into this retired MLB player's life. If you know of an athlete, entertainer, business owner, or interesting resident of Las Vegas, send us their information so we can do a write-up about them as well!
On The Rocks Photography
additional content courtesy of: Greg Vaughn