Wherever Jake Peavy winds up this offseason, the community will benefit.
11/11/2008 11:57 AM ET
Jake Peavy's community always wins
Pitcher has constantly lent a helping hand during his career
By Bernie Wilson / Special to MLBPLAYERS.com
The 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner is the subject of numerous trade rumors in recent weeks, so it's unknown where he'll land. But one of the constants of Peavy's seven years with the Padres has been his community involvement, both in San Diego and his hometown of Semmes, Ala., just outside of Mobile.
"I just think, as role models for these kids, that we have an obligation to help our respective communities that we live in, have a chance to interact with," Peavy said. "I know what it would have meant to me. It is hard to see myself as somebody a kid looks up to, but the more and more you're in San Diego and your hometown, you get to see how these little kids look up to you, and maybe you can make a positive difference in their lives. I think it's a big part of who we are as athletes and our responsibility as athletes."
Peavy's charity of choice is Team Focus, which provides fatherless young men, ages 10-17, with leadership skills, guidance, spiritual values, academic assistance and a continual relationship with a mentor. He's hosted and mentored at leadership camps in Mobile and San Diego.
"We just go in and give them a manly influence in their life, a father figure in their life, if they don't have one -- no matter what could have happened to their dad, whether he passed away or whether he just chooses not to be in their lives," Peavy said. "Just a lot of different reasons -- that's one of very many I get to be involved with."
Peavy's community-service resume is practically as extensive as his on-field accomplishments.
In 2008, Peavy also brought the Players Trust's Action Team program to Mobile, where he joined local high school students in an effort to help inspire volunteerism in the community.
He was the Padres' recipient of the 2007 Roberto Clemente Award, as well as one of 30 big league nominees for the national award, which is given annually to the player who combines outstanding skills on the field with devoted work in the community.
He was the 2006 winner of the Chairman's Award, presented annually to the player who best personifies the philanthropic spirit of Padres owner John Moores and his family.
He has also participated in military events in San Diego and made appearances at local military bases to sign autographs. He's also donated to Barry Zito's Strikeout for Troops Foundation in support of injured service men and women. The two pitchers -- Zito is from San Diego -- presented a $10,000 check to the Marine Corps League's Injured Marine Fund prior to a Padres-Giants game and hosted a group of recovering Marines on the field.
In the 2006-07 seasons, Peavy hosted more than 2,950 children from STAR/PAL and other organizations serving disadvantaged inner-city kids at Padres games. For many of the groups, he also provided food vouchers for the kids to buy hot dogs and beverages.
A few years ago, Peavy and some other big leaguers made a charity trip to the Dominican Republic.
"We took a bunch of equipment, spent a week with a bunch of underprivileged kids. We did camps and just gave hope to a lot of people who just didn't have hope.
"Things like that to me are life-changing," he said. "I tell that to people all the time. The more and more I do it, the more and more you want to get out and be a part of it."
-- Red Line Editorial