Trailblazing ballplayer Kelsie Whitmore says her jock dad always stepped up to the plate to practice with her — and that’s what made her the player she is today.
“Growing up, my dad was the one that would always play catch with me,” said Whitmore, 24, who made baseball history as the first woman to play for an MLB-affiliated minor league team when she recently suited up for the Staten Island FerryHawks.
“He was that person for me that no matter what, when it came to baseball, he would never say no even if I wanted to play catch every day, all day.”
“Absolutely, that goes to now,” said dad Scott Whitmore, who spoke to The Post on his drive from Maryland, where the FerryHawks played Thursday, to New York for their Friday night game.
A middle-school physical education teacher, Scott, 62, was undecided about retiring, until he got word that his daughter was moving to the Big Apple.
“When she signed that contract … I pulled the trigger, packed the car, drove to New York and I’m following the team around for the whole summer,” he said. “That was a no-brainer at that point.”
“He doesn’t want to miss a game,” said Kelsie, who plays the outfield and is also a relief pitcher.
The California native, who played baseball at Temecula Valley High School as did her younger brother, Matthew, 21, gushed about her father’s commitment to her craft, even after he underwent a total shoulder replacement.
“He wasn’t able to throw, do long toss with me. So I had to take the bucket out and he would just [catch] one ball at a time and put it in the bucket,” she said. “He will do anything he can to make it work even if he’s in pain.”
“It was a little uncomfortable, but I never passed up the opportunity. If she wanted to throw or hit, I was always gonna be there,” Scott said.
A native of Iowa, Scott played baseball, football, basketball and track and field.
“He was a four-sport athlete like me in high school. I most likely get my athleticism from him cause it’s not my mom,” Kelsie said, laughing.
Kelsie looks to her mother, Mirasol, a native of the Philippines and a kindergarten teacher, for help off the field.
“My mom always wants to look out for me and make sure I’m doing ok, more on that emotional … safety side,” she said.
Scott said he is more impressed with his daughter’s devotion to the game than her place in baseball lore.
“It’s very rewarding being the first, that’s all cool, but I’m really more proud of her persistence and her dedication to something that she has a passion for … continuing to try to strive to be at the highest level she can possibly be at is more impressive to me.”
And he’s already found his favorite spot in the borough where he will be spending the summer.
“The ballfield,” he said, without missing a beat. “When you sit in the bleachers, over the centerfield fence is the entire New York City skyline. It’s gorgeous.”