Young's honor embodies Texas' spirit
Miller Award recognizes just small part of Rangers' charitable efforts
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' efforts in the community received one of the highest honors in baseball this year when Michael Young was named the 2008 winner of the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award.Young and his wife, Cristina, were honored for their continued involvement in Wipe Out Kids Cancer -- a non-profit organization whose mission is to eradicate pediatric cancer. In addition, Michael also actively participates in the Major League Players Association's Buses for Baseball and Action Team Programs.
Young is just a part of the club's overall efforts to serve Arlington, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and North Texas by giving back to the community."Our goal is providing a product in which the community can be proud, and that is true both on and off the baseball field," Rangers president Nolan Ryan said. "The Texas Rangers want to be aggressive in supporting the community that supports us. I am also very proud of the fact that a number of our players are very involved in the community, both through their financial generosity and their giving of time to many worthwhile causes."
Most of the club's efforts are done through the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation. Established in 1991, the foundation is directly involved in promoting youth activities by creating and maintaining a number of youth incentive programs, providing an extensive program to award college scholarships, building youth ballparks and completing other initiatives that benefit youth in the community."We want our focus to be as diverse as possible while concentrating on several areas," Ryan said. "It's important to us that we place an emphasis on the youth with educational and health and fitness programs. I like the idea of continuing the team's tradition of building youth baseball parks and sponsoring our scholarship programs." Much of the foundation is funded by the players, either through direct contributions of $25,000 or more or through participation in special events. Last season, 14 players contributed directly to the fund: Joaquin Benoit, Hank Blalock, Milton Bradley, Ben Broussard, Marlon Byrd, Frank Catalanotto, Kazuo Fukumori, Eddie Guardado, Jason Jennings, Ian Kinsler, Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla and Ramon Vazquez. Millwood donated $150,000, in addition to helping build a house for Habitat for Humanity and supporting the Arlington Police Athletic League's baseball program. The Rangers will be busy again during the holiday season, with Kinsler -- who is the club's 2008 Jim Sundberg Community Achievement Award winner -- taking the lead. Kinsler and his wife, Tess, will serve for the third year as the club's ambassadors during the holiday toy drive. Lst year, the Rangers joined forces with the USMCR Toys for Tots program, Texas Baseball Foundation, FSN Southwest, my27 and 98.7 KLUV to collect toys during the holiday season. The holiday drive concluded with a special Toys for Tots Toy Drive Finale in the Vandergriff Plaza at Rangers Ballpark. Kinsler is donating $5,000 toward purchasing toys for the program this year. Texas is also continuing its tradition of serving Thanksgiving dinner at the Arlington Life Shelter for approximately 100 homeless people. The Rangers and their players stay busy throughout the year. Benoit helped raise relief funds for hurricane victims in the Dominican Republic, Blalock donated a $10,000 scholarship to the Arlington School District, Catalanotto is actively involved in the Vascular Birthmark Foundation, Josh Hamilton directs his Triple Play Ministries, Kameron Loe donated $14,500 to Jonathan's Place in Dallas and the Dallas Sales office donated $10,000 to renovate the house, David Murphy provided support for the SafeSwing Baseball Clinic and C.J. Wilson conducted fundraisers to benefit Scottish Rite Hospital and Cook Children's Hospital. The Texas Rangers' Wives Club actively supports Motel Ministries. The Rangers also awarded 19 college scholarships through various programs, including the Richard Greene Scholarships, the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the Mark Holtz Scholarships. The Rangers have also held Appreciation Nights at the Ballpark for local teachers, police officers and firefighters, as well as Hispanic Awareness Events. They have also held Organ Donor Awareness Nights and continue to put on a variety of baseball clinics in the area. The Rangers put on a variety of fundraisers throughout the year. The Park Place Dealerships Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation Triple Play Spectacular is the signature fundraising event for the foundation. This unique evening features Rangers players competing in some of America's most well-known game shows. Conceived by Rangers tv announcer Josh Lewin, the event has raised omore than $1 million for the Rangers Foundation since its inception in 2003. The 2009 Park Place Dealerships Texas Rangers Triple Play will take place Sunday, May 17, at the Hilton Anatole.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.