Those years also helped mold the modest man who, despite tremendous success at every level he's played in baseball, still takes the time to return to his hometown to thank those who have helped him along the way.
And more importantly, those years helped develop a person who cites his family as his greatest accomplishment in life.
Burbank reached its arms out to embrace Sanchez on Friday, Jan. 19, and the 29-year-old young man emphatically returned the love.
Sanchez was saluted with two events in his honor as part of "Freddy Sanchez Day."
The festivities began with an afternoon ceremony at the Burbank baseball field where the player had his Bulldogs number retired. He also received a host of proclamations from various city and county organizations, as well as from California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
He was also the guest of honor at a celebration and banquet in the evening at the Castaway restaurant.
Sanchez was touched and appreciative of the recognition.
"I can't tell you how great this is for me and my family," said Sanchez at the afternoon event that was attended by more than 300 people.
"I've got to see many people I haven't seen in a while and some people I didn't think would even come. That's what makes it even more special."
Sanchez, who played second base, third base and shortstop, enjoyed his share of awards and commendations resulting from his breakthrough season with the Pirates this past year.
He ended the season with a .345 average, winning the league batting championship.
Sanchez had 200 hits and led the National League with 53 doubles. He hit more two-baggers in a season than any player in Pittsburgh's history.
In July, he was one of seven players added to the 77th Major League All-Star Baseball Game at PNC Park, as he led all Major League players with 856,685 write-in votes.
He was honored in December by the Baseball Writers' Assn. of America with the 2006 Tony Conigliaro Award.
However, of all of his honors, getting his high school number retired touched him the most.
"There have been honors and awards for everything that I have done this year, and in the past throughout my career," Sanchez said.
"But something like this, in your hometown, where all my friends and family can enjoy it with me, is truly special.
"This is one of the biggest honors I have ever had in my life. To have my number retired at the place that I consider home, in my hometown ... is unbelievable."
"I could have never imagined something like this, having my own day, in the place where I grew up in Burbank. This is a real treat."
Sanchez is the first athlete in the 99-year history of the school to have their number retired.