Top 10 baseball legends and humanitarians
Continue Reading - Pages: 1 2
Who doesn’t like a list, honestly? Lists allow you to rank things and tell people why you’re correct and they don’t know what they’re talking about. I love arbitrary power. It’s pretty delicious. Currently, I have an intern and two producers that work under me. They’re really fun people and do a great job. However, I just yell nonsensical things at them randomly so they can hear what I would kind of sound like if I get mad. The perk of working in such a relaxed environment — besides wearing jeans, hat and t-shirt to work — is I’m not scolded for meltdowns during the day when something isn’t going right. It’s really good for your blood pressure and mental health.
For example: The other day, I thought I confirmed Bill Cosby coming into our studio for an interview. I screamed, “(expletive) yeah” and sprinted down the hall to tell my host. Then I got an e-mail saying he was going to join us by phone instead. I was disheartened, so, after sulking, I kicked a trash can, walked into the producer’s studio and yelled at the associate producer, “Eli Manning is a mouth-breathing dork. Go make me a turkey pot pie.” As a Giants fan, he was trying to defend Manning, but he was confused by my demand of turkey pot pie. As he halted mid-sentence in defense of Manning to ask me about pie, it made me feel better. I was able to go about my day and book a Madonna impersonator instead. Win-win.
What does that have to do with anything? Nothing. I just like the fact that you read that because I honestly have no idea how I was going to start this article before I sat down. So with that in mind, I present to you:
Mike Viso’s All-Time Good Guys. These guys are not only legends on the field, but should be remembered for the great things they did or do for their fellow man.
10. Sandy Koufax — In a time where racial segregation was ending but still left an uneasy feeling, Koufax brought about a different conversation. America has always been a “Christian” nation, so Koufax — not only acknowledging his Jewish heritage, but refusing to play in one of the biggest games of his career — is nothing short of admirable. Revisionist history might not be so kind if the Dodgers had lost that series to the Twins or if Koufax didn’t bounce back from a game two loss to throw two shutouts, but it worked out well. Koufax went on to become the face of the Jewish community in America and internationally. He was even drafted in 2007 in the inaugural Israeli Baseball League draft!
Besides the work that he has done for his fellow Jewish brethren, Koufax also serves on the Baseball Assistance Team, which is a non-profit dedicated to helping former major league, minor league, and Negro league players through financial and medical difficulties.
9. Tony Gwynn — Could there be a nicer guy in all of sports? If so, please tell me. Tony Gwynn, aka Mr. Padre, aka Mr. Video, was one of the truly “good guys” in baseball. He did everything the “right way.”
On top of being a quiet superstar, Gwynn has given back to the community. A huge supporter of children, Gwynn was a Humanitarian Hall of Fame inductee back in 1999 with the likes of Tom Landy. Continuing the theme of giving to the youth, Gwynn also has coached at his alma mater, San Diego State University. His struggles with cancer have been noted, and at times, lost in the media. Gwynn continues to battle on, always with the twinkle in his eye and the smile that made him so very loveable.
8. Cal Ripken Jr. — This is one I truly struggled with. I’ve heard mixed opinions on Ripken and his off-the-field demeanor. He is hailed as a baseball brat who grew up to break a record of one of the greatest people in sports history, Lou Gehrig. We know about the amazing work he has done for youth baseball. Baseball leagues went from being called “Babe Ruth” to “Cal Ripken.” But some have heard about his standoffish ways, the rumors of his wife’s infidelity with a certain baseball movie star, and how he isn’t personable. However, he’s done a lot for the youth and that can’t be ignored. Plus, he does a good job in the studio shows, so maybe I’m just biased because of his send-off in his final All-Star game versus the way Tony Gwynn was treated.
7. Gary Carter — I collaborated on some of this list. I took suggestions on my Facebook and Twitter pages, so that’s how Ripken got on there. I do have to admit that this pick goes to my dad. A Phillies fan his whole life, he admired and despised Gary Carter. A Hall of Famer and all around humanitarian, Carter was one of the greats who gets lost in some generations. I plead ignorance. I knew of Carter, but not the true talents he brought to the game. Off the field, Carter was someone that I will want my kids to emulate.
Carter was not only a quality media analyst and a great coach in the minors, but his foundation has had a huge impact in the Florida area. The Gary Carter Foundation aids children who live in poverty. Not only does his charity help people, but what elevates Carter to the number seven spot is his involvement with the organization.
Even through his battle with cancer, Carter was a hero and I hope that future generations aren’t as ignorant to his impact on the world as I was.
6. Babe Ruth — Simply said, “The Babe.” This is a man whose legend is as great as he was. Born into a dysfunctional family, Ruth spent his early years hanging around the bar his father owned. Following his mother’s death, his father could no longer handle his only child and signed his rights over to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. This was a reformatory school and orphanage for infants up to young men. You can argue that this experience is what pushed him to be a titan both on and off the field during his time.
There’s no secret when it comes to Ruth’s womanizing, partying and other less-than-wholesome activities. However, you can’t argue with what he did for children. Ruth was a pioneer in his charitable contributions. Because of his celebrity, earning power and status, he was able to make a living solely off baseball, unlike many of his contemporaries. This afforded Ruth the time and means to give to sickly, abandoned and underprivileged youth. He was one of the first of his day to start a foundation for a cause, and his legacy is cemented until the end of time both on and off the field.
One interesting fact about Ruth that gets looked over is that he got 95 percent of the vote to get into the Hall of Fame. Who didn’t vote for him!?
5. Rod Carew — No sexy pick here, but a solid one in Rod Carew. An ambassador for the game, Carew has had a hand in showing the talent level that South Americans bring to the table. This market is heavily scoured today. What Carew has also done is bring to light, much like Koufax, that race or creed shouldn’t have an affect on how you play the game. While Carew never officially converted to Judaism, he raised his children in that religion and has been revered by the community. Oddly enough, Carew is a devout Christian and has spent extensive time giving back to that community as well.
Share and Enjoy
Continue Reading - Pages: 1 2