Left-hander Cole Hamels hasn’t been with the Texas Rangers for a full year yet, but he and his family have embraced the Metroplex and consider themselves part of the community.
On Tuesday, Hamels gave back for the first time through The Hamels Foundation, which awarded $10,500 in grants to two Dallas elementary schools and partnered with the Rangers Baseball Foundation on a $25,000 donation to the Urban Youth Academy in West Dallas.
Hamels, who is scheduled to start Wednesday in the series finale against the Chicago White Sox, said that baseball has given him a chance to give back. While he is an elite pitcher in a game of the world’s best players, he said that the opportunity he had at an education puts him on equal footing with people with the same chance.
Enhancing education is the focus of the foundation he started in 2008 with his wife, Heidi. Since 2009, the foundation has donated more the $3.2 million to schools in Philadelphia, Missouri, Malawi, Africa, and, now, Dallas-Fort Worth.
“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,” Hamels said. “I think a lot of people just see as an athlete, but we’re also human beings. We came up in similar ways. We had to get an education to get somewhere and set goals and knowing how to achieve them. You have to have adequate enough programs and cirriculum that set the parameters that allow us to get where we are."
Hamels presented grants that will proved a counseling corner at Adelfa Botello Callejo Elementary ($5,000), new physical education equipment and supplies at Winnetka Elementary ($5,500) and educational classrooms at the Urban Youth Academy.
Philadelphia-area schools have received more than $1 million since 2009. Hamels said that Philadelphia, where he started his career and foundation and played until the July 31 trade deadline last season, is the model for his endeavors in the Metroplex.
“A lot of it is we like to support where we’re playing, where we’re living,” said Hamels, who made the check presentations at Winnetka Elementary. “Now, with being here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, we want what to emulate what we were able to accomplish in Philadelphia. We’ve been able to reach a lot of children, and we hope to have a nice start here and introduce who we are and what we do.”