I read a story on January 23rd that Steve Rosenbloom wrote in the Chicago Tribune about something that Hector Santiago did that was inspiring and touching. Rosenbloom found out about the story from ESPN.com. Like he even says in his story, it’s a story well worth sharing.
Santiago was very touched by the shooting that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He had his agent call the appropriate people because Santiago wanted to go out to Newtown and speak with students, who were still shaken up about the tragedy there. Note how I said that Santiago took the steps to do it. He didn’t take any orders from the Chicago White Sox to go to Connecticut.
That isn’t to say that the White Sox aren’t a charitable organization, because they are. But Santiago wanted to do something immediately and he wanted to do it on his own. The people in Newtown felt it more because Santiago did it by himself. Santiago told ESPN that he even wrote the speech himself, he didn’t have someone else prepare it. Something that is quite rare for an athlete in this day and age.
Santiago basically talked about his life, and how he has dealt with tough times in his life. He then answered questions from students. He also made sure he signed every autograph when asked. Santiago is already charitable; he has a Facebook page called “Santiago’s Soldiers” which are aimed at children.
This story first reported by ESPN.com and then reported by Rosenbloom touched me as well. For a player to actually do something on his own is always special. For me, it’s the fact that Santiago went out of his way to talk to the kids in Newtown. They didn’t know who he was. I’m sure most of them haven’t even heard of Santiago. We are talking about Connecticut here, where the majority of people are probably Boston Red Sox fans or New York Yankee fans. Remember, Santiago isn’t a big name pitcher.
Even if Santiago doesn’t last another year in the MLB he will always be a hall of famer in those kid’s eyes. According to ESPN.com, Monsignor Robert Weiss said the following about Santiago. “When Hector’s agent called me initially, I said, ‘You know, I’ve never seen a kid in this town with a White Sox hat or jersey.’ But the fact that he’s a professional athlete and he wanted to be with our kids has left a mark. This is something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.”
He will always have a fan base; perhaps not because of he does on the field but what he does off of it. I know I will always be cheering for him.
He is a special type of player.
What do you think about this story? Let me know and follow me on Twitter @EvanCrum1319