In a world with so much adversity and questionable acts of sincerity and honesty, it’s easy to admire and root for those who are truly honest and care for more than their own welfare. For New York Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson, admiration and respect has been easy to grasp from co-workers and fans alike. He has been noted by players and executives around Major League Baseball to be one of the nicest guys in the game, and has won the hearts of fans through his selflessness and drive for others success.
Granderson was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 3rd round of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft and made his Major League debut as a late-season call-up in 2004. His impressive play and consistency landed him the starting job in center fielder for the 2006 season, and one year later recorded the most write-in All-Star votes for any player in the Majors. That same season he became the sixth all-time member of baseball’s 20-20-20 club and the Tigers’ second player of all-time to reach 30 doubles. Statistically, 2007 was a great season for Granderson, but it became even more significant as he founded the Grand Kids Foundation.
The Grand Kids Foundation focuses on the improvement of educational experiences across the United States, while re-establishing baseball opportunities for inner city youth across the country. Through fundraisers, donations and events such as charity basketball games, the Foundation has given $80,000 in grants to various youth programs and schools across the United States since its 2007 inception. His involvement and interest in the educational upgrade for youth has given him the chance to meet and interact with those he is assisting.
In 2009, Granderson released a children’s book titled All You Can Be; sharing personal stories and encounters from his childhood, relaying a positive and inspiring message to youth about chasing their dreams and accomplishing their goals. All proceeds from the book sales have gone to benefit the Grand Kids Foundation and features artwork done by a number of 4th graders throughout Michigan contest winners.
Granderson is the official MLB spokesperson for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move anti-obesity campaign where he encourages children to stay fit and active as they live a healthy lifestyle and also has served as an overseas ambassador for MLB. In 2009, Granderson was awarded the MLBPA Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award for his charitable donations and work within the community. He has also been nominated on three different occasions for the Roberto Clemente Award, which honors the MLB player who offers the most work off the field.
Donations and money raised by Grand Kids Foundation is used towards the purchase of school supplies such as books and various essentials for youths in need and also helps establish and provide proper equipment for inner city baseball programs. The hopes to make the GKF a nationwide grant program are higher than ever with the goal of providing assistance for schools such as field trips, art programs and educational computer based software.
Curtis Granderson is a fan favourite not only in Detroit and New York, but also around the entire league. His selflessness is admirable and his work ethic on and off the field has become a standard for many players. He has been voted friendliest player in Major League Baseball by his peers and is respected by all levels within baseball.
To learn more about Curtis and Grand Kids Foundation, visit http://grandkidsfoundation.org/