The MLB All-Star team rosters have been announced and the players are in the Nation’s Capital this week. While we await the All-Star game tonight, we took a look at the players on both the American and National League All-Star rosters to see how they make a social impact in their communities.
We know the MLB is dedicated to sports philanthropy, now let’s check out their best players. We want to know who is the most socially conscious team, the American League or the National League.
This week we took a look at the National League. Click here to see last week’s look at the American League All-Star roster’s social impact.
C: Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs
The Cubs catcher has his own foundation, The Willson Contreras Foundation, that supports homeless veterans. He created a custom t-shirt that raised money for the foundation and partner, Rags of Honor USA. He has met several times pregame with a ten year old boy with Down Syndrome, hosting him before games. In 2017, Contreras served as a celebrity ambassador for Special Olympics Illinois and their Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby. Willson also teamed up with a local Chicago area bakery, The Frosted Baker, for the event. The bakery created a Willson Contreras rubber ducky cookie with a portion of the proceeds going to Special Olympics Illinois.
1B: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
After losing his mother to skin cancer in grade school, Freddie Freeman is an outspoken advocate of healthy skin care. He partners with the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) each year to raise funds and awareness about the dangers of skin cancer. He does an interview each year during Melanoma Awareness Month (May) to raise awareness for the dangers of skin cancer. In 2016, he partnered with the Braves and Subway restaurants to host a Freeman’s Sleeve Day, which gave a custom pair of arm sleeves to each ticket package purchased for that game. A portion of ticket proceeds went to MRF. He and his Braves teammates have served meals at The Giving Kitchen to hungry citizens of Atlanta in honor of Community Heroes Week.
2B: Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs
Hailing from Puerto Rico, Javier Baez designed a custom limited edition t-shirt that donated proceeds to Hurricane Maria relief. He appeared at a Puerto Rico fundraiser in Chicago this past February to continue to support the relief efforts. He has previously been involved with Puerto Rico events hosted by the Minnesota Twins’ Jose Berrios. Javier’s sister Noely tragically lost her life after a battle with spina bifida that plagued her throughout her 21 years. Javier is actively involved with charities that raise money for spina bifida research and hosts local events to raise awareness and support for those suffering from the disease.
3B: Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
Nolan Arenado has participated in his teammate Jason Motto’s foundation activities. During last year’s spring training, Motto’s foundation hosted 23 children from the Colorado Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. Several players including Arenado came out to meet the kids and take them on a tour of the spring training facility. Last season Arenado won the Majestic Athletic Always Game Award which came with a $10,000 donation to charity of his choice. Arenado chose to give it to a local Denver charity.
SS: Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants
Brandon Crawford hosts an annual summer baseball camp in Scottsdale, Arizona to raise money for charity and promote personal development and good sportsmanship. He and his wife have completed fundraisers for Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare, a non-profit physical rehabilitation center that works with catastrophic injuries. His sister-in-law Jamie Dantzscher was one of the first USA Gymnasts to break her silence on the Larry Nassar abuse. Crawford and his family have been extremely supportive of the movement and supporting Jamie. In 2016, he partnered with Wells Fargo to give $100,000 in education grants to 25 local Bay area schools. The grants supported arts, music, education and sports programs at those schools.
OF: Nick Markakis, Atlanta Braves
Back when Nick Markakis was a Baltimore Oriole, he and his wife Christina started the Right Side Foundation, a non-profit that supports disadvantaged youth around Maryland. The organization created a Fun for 21 program that hosted 21 children from across Maryland each year in various activities around the state. He participated in Strike Out Cancer Day in 2014, raising money for Colorado Rockies’ Jason Motto’s foundation as well as LUNGevity. Markakis and his wife also donated $75,000 to the Baltimore Orioles Charitable Foundation in 2014 to support the team’s local philanthropic efforts. He serves as an ambassador to the Taylor Hooton Foundation’s “All Me League”, that supports PED free athletics.
OF: Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
Matt Kemp is dedicated to giving back. He has a stipulation in his contract that donates $250,000 to the Dodgers Dream Foundation each year. His self-funded organization, Kemp’s Kids, raises money to raise awareness and increase participation in baseball to inner-city youth and host them at Los Angeles Dodgers games and experiences. Kemp hails from Midwest City, Oklahoma and still gives back to his hometown. In 2013, following devastating tornadoes in the state, Kemp announced he would donate $1000 for every home run he hit from May to July that year. He donated $10,000 to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, bought toys for 140 local kids in need and gave out winter jackets to those in need. His younger brother has autism, so he is an active supporter of autism organizations like Talk About Curing Autism (TACA). He hosts an annual fundraiser with TACA called Ante Up for Autism.
OF: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
Bryce Harper started his own foundation in partnership with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Harper’s Heroes, in 2013 to support children battling cancer. Each year he invites children suffering from cancer to experience a day at Nationals Park, including hanging out with Harper pre-game. Harper partnered with New Era Caps to design a cap line for Harper’s Heroes. Proceeds from the sales of the caps go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. A Las Vegas native, he and Chicago Cubs’ Kris Bryant produced several PSAs to support the families and victims of those affected in the Las Vegas shooting in 2017.
C: Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
Yadier Molina hails from Puerto Rico and has participated in many of the Hurricane Maria recovery efforts. In 2017, Molina was on the ground handing out water, food, ice and other necessary supplies. He hosted a dinner in St. Louis this past June to raise money for Hurricane Maria relief through his foundation Fundacion4. His foundation works to improve the lives of children in need in Puerto Rico. After Hurricane Maria, the foundation raised more than $150,000 for relief efforts.
C: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
Buster and his wife Kristen created The Buster and Kristen Posey Fund in 2016. The fund provides grants to research hospitals and charity organizations that support children with pediatric cancer. They are also involved with The V Foundation, and Buster worked with New Era Caps to design a customized 9FORTY cap with the yellow pediatric cancer ribbon on the side. Proceeds from the sale of the caps go towards pediatric cancer research and treatment. They host galas and other fundraisers to promote awareness and support for pediatric cancer as well. This year’s gala will be held on September 13. For more information, click here.
C: J.T. Realmuto, Miami Marlins
J.T. Realmuto participates actively in Marlins community activities. When visually impaired children from the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired took their annual visit to Marlins Park for their “Touch Tour”, Realmuto spent time with the kids. The Marlins have donated more than $50,000 to Miami Lighthouse.
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
Paul Goldschmidt and his wife Amy are regular visitors at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. He and the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation partnered together to found Goldy’s Fund 4 Kids that will support programs that lift the spirits of the children and their families. Goldy’s Fund 4 Kids hosts an annual celebrity bowling tournament to raise money for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Held in February 2018, the event featured several celebrity big leaguers in attendance- 2017’s event raise $186,000.
1B: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
Joey Votto won the 2018 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award from the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity (of which Gehrig was a member of the Columbia University chapter). The award recognizes a player who exemplifies Gehrig’s giving character. Joey is actively involved with the P&G MLB Cincinnati Reds Youth Academy and works with the boys and girls that trains there. He has donated to the Reds Community Fund regularly and that money has gone towards the Training Center at the youth academy that now bears his name. Each December, Joey attends the Reds offseason fan-fest and fundraiser for the Reds Community Fund. At Redfest, Votto signs autographs and participates in media interviews- including a kids only press conference. At the Reds Bowling Bash in 2017, Votto stayed and met with fans to sign autographs and take photos.
Joey also met with Walter Herbert (Superbubz), diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma, when he attended batting practice at the ball park as a wish visit experience. Joey took him on a behind the scenes tour of the clubhouse and a signed bat and jersey. Shortly after, when Superbubz lost his battle to cancer, Joey attended the visitation to pay his respects to the family.
2B: Scooter Gennett, Cincinnati Reds
In 2015, when Scooter Gennett was a Milwaukee Brewer, he auctioned off an experience to spin pottery with him. Money raised from the auction went to LUNGevity, an organization that educates and raises awareness for lung cancer. He was the Reds 2017 nominee for the Roberto Clemente award for his work in the community. He makes monthly visits to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He meets with Make-a-Wish guests during each homestand. He has participated in several local community fundraisers with the team, including Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids with Miracle League athletes, Reds Day at the Cincinnati Zoo, and Season Ticket Member events.
SS: Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies
Trevor Story comes from a family that knows how to give back. His father is a Texas firefighter and his mother is the CEO of Irving Cares, a non profit that runs a food pantry and provides emergency funds for people in need. Story was raised to have a strong commitment to giving back to his community and he has pledged to make a social impact every offseason.
OF: Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies
Charlie Blackmon is an active advocate of clean play in sports and joined forces in 2017 with the Taylor Hooton Foundation, an organization that fights against PED use in sports, and their “All Me League”. The foundation got its name from Founder Don Hooton, after his son Taylor committed suicide after abusing steroids in 2003.
OF: Lorenzo Cain, Milwaukee Brewers
While playing in Kansas City, Lorenzo Cain was an active participate in the Royals charitable activities, including Variety Children’s Charity events. Cain met with many children supported by the non-profit organization, taking photos and signing autographs.
OF: Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers
Christian Yelich has worked with multiple Habitat for Humanity initiatives in both Texas and Milwaukee. In 2017, alongside 50 other MLB players, Yelich participated in the MLB Players Trust “Returning Home” program. This initiative helped support families who lost their homes from the flooding and hurricanes. Yelich and the other participating players visited Habitat for Humanity warehouse in Dallas to frame two houses for victims of Houston floods. They also put together holiday gift packages for displaced families. This past May, Yelich and his some of his Brewer teammates joined Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity for their kickoff of building season. The organization plans to rehab and rebuild 100 homes in the Midtown neighborhood over the next 3 years. The Brewers players assisted with one of the 19 homes that they plan to complete this year.
LHP: Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks
Patrick Corbin partnered with Good Sports in 2014 to commemorate the donation of more than $6,000 worth of sports equipment to the Syracuse Shonnard Street Boys and Girls Clubs. The donation was said to keep 600 kids active in sporting activities throughout the program. He took pictures with the children and signed autographs. Corbin is a native of Upstate New York and works to regularly give back in the region.
RHP: Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
The Mets All-Star participates in regular events in the NYC area. In 2015, he joined teammates at a Fantasy Football Draft Charity event, Big League Impact, where fans could make donations to participate in the league with the players. Donations were split between the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island and Manhattan and the New York Mets’ team foundation.
LHP: Sean Doolittle, Washington Nationals
Sean Doolittle and his wife Eireann Dolan work closely with military organizations, both being from military families. They actively support Operation Finally Home, an organization that builds brand new, mortgage-free homes for wounded vets and their families, and Swords to Plowshares, an organization that provides job training, housing support, and legal assistance to former service members. Doolittle has been nominated for two Roberto Clemente Awards as well as received three Bob Feller Act of Valor Award nominations. They have written op-eds in Sports Illustrated about their support for veterans with “bad paper” (or less than honourable discharge). These former members are typically stripped of their veteran status and lose resources like the VA hospitals that other veterans have access to. Dolan and Doolittle work to raise awareness of the needs of the more than 500,000 veterans with bad paper. 500,000!! To top that all off, the couple sponsored the Oakland Athletics first ever LGBTQ Pride Night in 2015, and hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for Syrian refugees later that year.
RHP: Mike Foltynewicz, Atlanta Braves
In 2017, Mike Foltynewicz was reminded of a younger version of himself when he saw a photo of a young fan religiously keeping a scorebook for a Braves game. Foltynewicz invited the young fan and his family to come out to a game and meet him. The experience inspired him and his wife to create Folty Fridays, where he brings pizza to local schools and childcare facilities and spends time with the children. He has visited orphans at the Calvary Children’s Home and visited the Braves’ Youth Baseball Camp. He plans to continue to grow the program and reach out to more young people.
RHP: Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers
Kenley Jansen has been actively involved with the Dodgers charitable projects. He met with children from Tia’s Hope (an organization that provides memorable experience for children stuck in hospitals) pregame, signing autographs and taking pictures. He joined teammate Yasiel Puig’s charity poker tournament last year to raise money for Puig’s Wild Horses Foundation which helps economically disadvantaged children and their families. He has also participated in the Dodgers’ local Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program in Inglewood.
LHP: Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs
Jon Lester is a cancer survivor. Because of his battle, he and his wife Farrah work throughout the year to fundraise for pediatric cancer research. They created a fund, NVRQT (never quit), that hosts community events around Chicago, like NVRQT Goes Country, and sells NVRQT branded products on their website to raise money for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF). NVRQT hosts children going through treatment in away cities where John travels for games, called “Road Rallies”, where he has time to meet with the kids for autographs and photos. NVRQT Goes Country 2018 will be held this Friday, July 20th.
RHP: Miles Mikolas, St. Louis Cardinals
In 2014, Miles Mikolas’ cousin Andrew Harris was killed by a boat while snorkeling off the coast of Jupiter. His family then created the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation that supports the creation and placement of artificial reefs off the coast.
RHP: Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies
After the Baton Rouge floods in 2016, Aaron Nola and several more of his Louisiana State University alumni across the MLB established the Baton Rouge Area Foundation to help raise awareness and support those in need of relief. Nola and his fellow LSU alumni players worked with the MLBPA Players Trust and Major League Baseball to make a $250,000 donation to flood victims. The organizations that received the money were the American Red Cross ($125,000), the Baton Rouge Area Foundation ($62,500) and High Socks for Hope ($62,500). Nola is also an ambassador for the Taylor Hooton Foundation’s “All Me League” for PED free sports.
RHP: Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
Max Scherzer gives back to the community in several ways. He launched a D.C. chapter of Big League Impact (the Fantasy Football Draft event we mentioned earlier) which raises money for the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy and the Big League Impact Global Fund. The Big League Impact Global Fund has set the following global goals: to provide clean drinking water for 5,000 people, provide 2,500 mosquito nets to help stop the spread of malaria, relieve 100,000 children of internal parasites and prevent blindness in 500-plus individuals. To innovate the way fans receive autographs, Scherzer and a close friend from high school developed and launched Fansigner.com, which allows players to offer personalized inscriptions for autographed memorabilia (so it’s just for you). A portion of the proceeds from the autographed item goes towards a charity of the athlete’s choice. Scherzer’s charity of choice? D.C.’s Humane Rescue Alliance. During Hurricane Harvey, Scherzer covered the fees that animal adoption centers in Houston had to take on to make room for pets lost or displaced.
LHP: Felipe Vazquez, Pittsburgh Pirates
Felipe Vazquez supported the Pittsburgh Pirates organization during their Hurricane Maria relief efforts for Puerto Rico. The team set a goal of 150,000 of necessary supplies during an emergency supply drive. Vazquez, Pirates teammates and coaches, as well as the team’s President, GM, and other staff staff showed up for two 12 hour days unloading supplies at PNC Park. They ended up with more than 450,000 pounds of supplies and $200,000 in cash to go towards Hurricane Maria relief efforts.
RHP: Ross Stripling, Los Angeles Dodgers
Ross Stripling has participated in community events through the Dodgers Foundation, including the Dodgers Love L.A. annual community service week that supporting various causes around Los Angeles.
*The following players on the NL roster had no philanthropy info readily available. If anyone has any information on philanthropic work on any of these players, please comment below and let us know!
1B: Jesus Aguilar, Milwaukee Brewers
2B: Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves
3B: Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati Reds
LHP: Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers
LHP: Brad Hand, San Diego Padres
Just when you thought the American players had it in the bag… the National League players showed up. That’s 29 out of 34 All-Stars from the National League that are working hard in the community (85%). Looks like we have a winner! Congrats to the National League for having the most charitable All-Star Roster this year! But regardless of what roster these All-Stars are on, we found 80% of them doing great work in their community. That’s an amazing statistic that the MLB and pro baseball players should be proud of.