Mom's belief in Paxton helped him excel

Mom's belief in Paxton helped him excel

TORONTO -- James Paxton has always appreciated mom Barb Paxton's support, especially on Mother's Day.

"She would always drive me to practice or come watch when my dad and I used to play catch in the back park," said Paxton, who is emerging as one of the top lefties in the American League this season. "She was always very encouraging of my baseball and helped me through a lot of tough times. She was nothing but supportive."

Barb Paxton owns The Cloth Shop, a store on Granville Island in Vancouver, B.C., that sells fabric, quilts and the like. At home, she weaved the kind of family life that provided her son a lifeline whenever needed.

"It's just a sense of security," Paxton said. "Early in my career, she always was telling me things were going to be OK and if it was meant to happen, it would happen. Working my way up, she was always encouraging me to stay the course and believe in myself, because she believed in me so much. She was just always there to help me growing up."

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Along the way, a woman who didn't play sports herself and knew little about the game of baseball became a fan.

"She was not an athlete," Paxton said. "She's not too big into sports. But since I started playing baseball, she really dove in, and now she's a huge baseball fan. She'll watch games even when I'm not playing or games not even involving the Mariners. She just enjoys the game and stories. Everyone has their own path, and she finds it amazing what players have gone through."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.