Adrian Gonzalez does good deeds on both sides of the border.
03/03/2009 1:56 PM ET
Adrian Gonzalez an All-Star to local kids
Padres first baseman is sure to give back in two nations
By Bernie Wilson / Special to MLBPLAYERS.com
The San Diego Padres first baseman, who has roots in both the United States and Mexico, has quickly become as active off the field as he has in becoming the Padres' top offensive and defensive player.
While most of his charitable work is based on the San Diego side of the border, the Adrian and Betsy Gonzalez Foundation helps needy kids in Tijuana as well.
It's a unique situation for Gonzalez, who has blossomed as a star in his hometown after being acquired by the Padres in a big deal in January 2006.
Gonzalez, though, is happy simply to be able to lend a hand.
"Just being able to help in general," he said. "It doesn't matter where you help, just being able to help the kids that really need it."
Gonzo's various charitable pursuits raise money to help underprivileged children in the areas of sports, education and health.
"They're our future," said Gonzalez, who last year was selected to his first All-Star Game and won his first Gold Glove Award. "I want to see them grow up with a chance to live up to their potential."
He established the Adrian and Betsy Gonzalez Foundation last year. It is affiliated with the San Diego Foundation.
He holds a dinner, a bowling event and a golf tournament to raise money for groups such as the Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the YMCA and other organizations.
Gonzalez also supports the baseball program at his alma mater, Eastlake High in suburban Chula Vista. He and older brother Edgar, an infielder with the Padres, held a baseball clinic at PETCO Park in December, and a portion of the proceeds were donated to San Diego-area youth baseball leagues.
As an ambassador for the San Diego Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he greets children suffering from life-threatening illnesses once a month during the season at Petco Park. He's a celebrity spokesman for Big Brothers and Big Sisters and did a public service announcement in both English and Spanish.
The Gonzalez brothers were born in San Diego, although the family lived in Tijuana at the time. They moved north of the border in 1990. All the while, the Gonzalez boys watched the Padres and idolized Tony Gwynn.
They headed off to Florida after the 2000 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Adrian was the No. 1 pick overall by the Marlins out of Eastlake High. Edgar, who had played at San Diego State, was taken the next day in the 30th round by Tampa Bay.
-- Red Line Editorial