Sometimes a ballplayer chooses a worthy cause and other times a worthy cause chooses the ballplayer, as was the case with Jamey Carroll.
The Rockies' popular utility player knew it was his duty to come to the assistance of his hometown of Newburgh, Ind., after it was devastated by a rare fall tornado on Nov. 6, 2005.
"Home is where it's all about for me," said Carroll, who has played second base, third base, shortstop and in the outfield this season to help the Rockies reach the World Series.
Carroll has made himself available to a variety of charities and community causes during his six seasons in the Major Leagues, but rebuilding in the aftermath of the tornado became a special mission because his roots in southern Indiana are deep and permanent, even though the 33-year-old Carroll has moved to Rockledge, Fla.
The storm, which struck at 2 a.m., ripped through a trailer park, clipped a corner of Evansville and then damaged scores of homes in Newburgh.
"The width of the tornado was five football fields wide," Carroll said. "It changed the landscape."
"I had some real good friends and friends' parents homes that have been rebuilt. I'm fortunate my family was only on the outskirts of all of it.
"I wanted to find out if there was any way to help. Family members came in and helped with the cleanup. At the time, I had a foundation (T.W.O.) where I was playing, in Washington, D.C., and I called upon them and teammates and friends to try to donate something we could do to help people in the area."
Carroll has been back several times and is still stunned by the changed landscape.
"Where there were trees is now wide-open land," he said. "You see rebuilding. They've done a great job trying to restore things. My wife and I went and gave out gift certificates to get new clothes, get some food.
"With one of the churches back home, we helped give kids some gifts. It was coming up on the holiday season and people lost a lot. We helped as many families as we could. It was enough to help out a handful of families."
Celebrities and athletes have come through in disasters before, and this is no exception. When private individuals are attracted to donate by an athlete spearheading the assistance, so much the better.
"People come to you because you have that platform to call upon people," he said. "I was able to call upon a bunch of teammates and friends in baseball, and in Baseball Chapel.
"When you become a part of a family like that, guys are willing to help. In a sense, as a teammate, you are family. Something personal to you has been affected."
Story courtesy Red Line Editorial.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.