After making his major league debut for the New York Yankees on May 3, 2005, Robinson Cano has put up some very impressive numbers during his 13 years in the Major Leagues. His career batting average is .304 accumulating 311 Homeruns, 1,233 Runs Batted In and 2,470 hits. Therefore, returning to New York as a New York Met, his professional goal is to help the Mets get another World Series Title, but also to collect another 530 hits for the magical number of 3,000 and to become the all-time 2nd baseman with the most homeruns. As an 8 time Allstar (2006, 2010-2014, 2016-2017), 5 time Silver Slugger Award Winner (2006, 2010 -2013) and 2 time Gold Glove Award Winner (2010, 2012), Cano only needs 66 homeruns to tie Jeff Kent for the all-time record. These professional goals are well within insight in Flushing.
However, it is Robinson Cano’s personal and spiritual goal of helping the various communities and all children that are challenged in debilitating ways. Within 24 hours of his press conference at Citifield, welcoming him and Edwin Diaz to the New York Mets, Cano chose not to see a Broadway Play or go Christmas Shopping with his family. He instinctively and without any hesitation went to where is heart was yearning to be. A place that he missed ever so dearly during his 4 year tenure with the Seattle Mariners.
That sacred place is the Hackensack University Medical Center, where there is a special wing of the hospital named, “The Robinson Cano Pediatric Occupational Therapy Suite. “ This wing was established several years ago in honor of his early work with the hospitals children when playing for the Bronx Bombers. With the assistance of David Jurist, a philanthropist who lost his daughter to cancer two years ago and who has donated approximately 1 million dollars from “The Eileen Fund” to the hospital, and Ray Negron, who remains as the New York Yankees Community Advisor for over 45 years and author of the book “The Boy of Steel”(2005) which was partially inspired by Cano’s Godly love for the children of Hackensack Hospital , Cano was able to fulfill his most immediate goal of returning to these “children of Hackensack University Medical Center.
“ I needed to be here first!!! I sorely missed them. This is what we all need to do. We need to all give back and be there for the children that are suffering. Not just at Christmas time, but all year round,” Cano emphatically stated to this writer. He went on to reveal, “People like Dave Jurist and Ray Negron, are amazing. I love them dearly for what they do for children all the time. They both taught me to how to help children when not playing baseball. I carried that knowledge to Seattle and now back in New York. When I learned about the trade, contacting them was my first priority. Seeing these children right off the bat was very important. They both were there for me, just like old times.”
When Cano arrived at Hackensack University Medical Center, he was warmly greeted by hospital and New York Met representatives. Together, they quickly strategized how they were going to collaboratively brighten the spirits of many hospitalized children. Children, that may not have very long to live or have been suffering for so long. Cano, leading the rally, as he often does between the white lines, began travelling to each floor handing out Christmas presents, autographed Met hats and other baseball items.
However, it was his bright, beautiful smile that shined in the hearts of these young boys and girls. His smile and gentle touch to these children that were hurting, was worth more than any baseball accomplishment can ever bring. Jurist who was with Cano when the wing was first opened and was the first person to embrace him yesterday, wanted to share,” Robinson’s love for these children is second to none. With the exception of Mark Messier, Robinson’s sincere love for these children is a true blessing.” As the fairly large contingent walked through the various children’s units of the hospital, Cano and Jurist’s arms were often locked together, seemingly expressing the love and pure respect that they have for each other. As the group was waiting to enter the elevator to visit another unit, Jurist expressed,” Even when Robinson was in Seattle, he made it his mission to assist all children in the New York area by bringing them to a Yankee or Met game when the Mariners were in town. Him being here today after just coming back to New York is amazing. Having him back in New York is like an old friend coming home. I love him dearly.”
So do all the children of Hackensack University Medical Center. Welcome home Robinson.