Rangers players, like peers around MLB, aren’t heartless

Three former Rangers, Ian Kinsler, Mike Napoli and Chris Davis, all made contributions to the Do It For Durrett Foundation event Thursday.
Three former Rangers, Ian Kinsler, Mike Napoli and Chris Davis, all made contributions to the Do It For Durrett Foundation event Thursday. Star-Telegram

The Texas Rangers hadn’t had a day off for 20 days and wouldn’t have another until the All-Star break.

The players who have families needed a day with their wives and children, and who can blame them? They might make a lot more money than the most do, but contrary to how many might perceive professional athletes, they aren’t heartless.

The young, single players made plans to go to an area lake, though in a few cases sleeping in and lounging around won out over a day on the water.

But one place players and coaches didn’t want to be Thursday, maybe the last place, was Globe Life Park. Yet, that’s where several of them ended up because, after all, they aren’t heartless.

They came to support the Do It For Durrett Foundation, which held its third annual event to raise money in support of families who have suffered the same sudden loss of a parent as Richard Durrett’s family did when he died unexpectedly two years ago.

Not all who showed were ever interviewed by the former ESPN Dallas reporter, though a few had been and knew him well. Naturally, they liked the heck out of him.

And they gave Thursday. Some might have given money on their own, though none was asked to do so. But they definitely gave their time, their autographs, their best smiles for photos with fans, and their non-baseball talents.

Any time we’re put in the situation we are and the outlet we can provide, it allows us to be a little more human.

Cole Hamels

A.J. Griffin, who came off the disabled list Saturday to start against the Boston Red Sox, showed that he is a talented musician.

It turns out that hitting coach Anthony Iapoce is, hello, a heck of a dancer.

Third-base coach Tony Beasley, who served as an event judge, brought down the house at the 2015 event by singing Michael Jackson’s lines in We Are the World.

Many of those who opted to spend time with their families had given to the foundation in some form in the past. Including the money raised in 2016, Do It For Durrett has raised some $425,000 in three years.

Left-hander Cole Hamels was at a Dallas on Tuesday morning as The Hamels Foundation gave grants to two elementary schools and the Urban Youth Academy (video by Jeff Wilson).

Players aren’t heartless, after all, and many understand that they can help and need to help because of who they have become and the good fortune that has blessed them.

“Any time we’re put in the situation we are and the outlet we can provide, it allows us to be a little more human,” left-hander Cole Hamels said in May as his charity, The Hamels Foundation, made its first impact on the Metroplex after helping for years in Philadelphia, Missouri and in Africa.

“I think a lot of people just see us as an athlete, but we’re also human beings. We came up in similar ways.”

These guys aren’t looking for a pat on the back, though the most cynical will say they are only looking for a tax write-off.

The Do It For Durrett Foundation, with the support of the Rangers and teams, players and coaches around baseball, has raised more than $425,000 since 2014.

That’s just not the case. These guys aren’t heartless.

Among those in attendance Thursday was Michael Young, who will be inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame next month. Among his career highlights is twice being named the Marvin Miller Man of the Year by his peers.

That’s no small accomplishment.

The award is given annually to the MLB player whose efforts in the community match his on-field performance. Young, along with his wife, did the charity stuff quietly through the Michael Young Family Foundation.

The MLB equivalent of the Miller Award, given by the Players Association, is the Roberto Clemente award. Adrian Beltre has been the Rangers’ nominee the past two years, and in 2015 he was the first Rangers player to win the Lou Gehrig Award as the MLB player who best exemplifies the character of the Iron Horse.

Michael Young is headed to the Rangers Hall of Fame, and Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre talked Friday about what Young meant to them in their careers (video by Jeff Wilson).

The current Rangers weren’t alone in lending their support Thursday night. Former players and coaches either attended or helped the foundation compile its impressive arsenal of auction items.

Chris Davis, Nelson Cruz, Scott Feldman, Ian Kinsler, Mike Napoli, Mike Maddux, Ron Washington and Clint Hurdle were all glad to give signed memorabilia, either of their own or of their teammates or both.

No players have been as generous to Do It For Durrett as Derek Holland, Elvis Andrus and Matt Harrison.

6 Dates that Derek Holland has agreed to take in association with the Do It For Durrett Foundation, raising nearly $25,000

Dates with Holland from the past three events have raised nearly $25,000, and Andrus and EA Sign Solutions have printed T-shirts and signage without charging the foundation a dime. Harrison has quietly chipped in with his wallet.

The Rangers and some of their partners, in particular Delaware North, are the reason the past two events have been possible. The Frisco RoughRiders and owner Chuck Greenberg, who came to know Richard as he spearheaded the sale of the Rangers in 2010, have contributed nearly $20,000 in three years.

All who haved helped know it’s important for them to make an impact in their communities. They want to help, even if for some it came on their first off day in 20 days and their only off day in 37 days.

It’s the same across baseball, with some of its biggest stars. Clayton Kershaw, Albert Pujols and Adam Jones are past Miller winners. It’s only a matter of time until Chris Archer joins the esteemed group.

They do it quietly. They do it frequently.

They aren’t heartless, after all.

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