Curtis Granderson has always been receptive to the media in his seven year tenure as a high profiled ballplayer in New York with the Yankees and the Mets. Bad game or good, Granderson has answered the questions and never turns down an interview
That smile and his response made him a perfect fit on and off the field. And when it comes to honors for his work in the community, Granderson does not seek the accolades or awards with his Grand Kids Foundation, an organization built to inspire and encourage positive youth development via education.
“To give back in my fashion is important to me,” Granderson said Monday afternoon at Citi Field where he accepted his honor of winning this year’s Lou Gehrig Memorial Award sponsored by by the Phi Delta Theta International fraternity that is located in Oxford, Ohio.
Granderson is the second New York Mets player to accept the honor. Pitcher John Franco won the award in 2001.
Granderson, a three-time All-Star and 2011 Silver Slugger Award winner has compiled a .341 career on-base percentage in his 12-year career. Saturday night, he was the first Mets player to tie and win a ballgame with a home run in an extra inning win over the Twins, and during this Mets September stretch he has eight home runs, 16 runs batted in and scored 15 times in 16 games.
Physical fitness and nutrition, as Granderson said, are also key components of his foundation. He carries that message to youngsters and each year the outfielder hosts a number of annual community programs in New York, Detroit, Port St. Lucie and Chicago.
School visits are also vital to his message with emphasis on the value of education.
A question was posed: Why is Curtis Granderson an inspiration to his colleagues that play the game on the baseball diamond, football field, and in various other sports?
“I learned a lot in the community,” he said, “surrounded by poverty. Whether I am wealthy or have no money, you have to have the passion.” Meaning, as Granderson wanted to emphasize, if the baseball career was not a success there would still be that need to serve the community in need.
On the field, Curtis Granderson continues to go about his business. However, there was this passion of an individual on Monday who wanted to assure those in need that they should not be left behind.
“You don’t have to have the name,” he said. “ You can volunteer. You can do a bunch of great things.” With that message, Granderson left the podium and went to work leaving tomorrow to help another individual or group in need.