The professional athlete turned superstar is in a unique position in that he can use his power as a cultural icon to contribute to the betterment of society, while spurring others to do so as well. This is particularly true when it comes to athletes playing in Major League Baseball, one of the most watched sports leagues in the United States. A number of baseball players have had the most humble of beginnings, with their illustrious careers being clear testaments of their strength and will. The last three decades have seen some of the greatest players to have played the game give back to their communities, whether it is by making donations to charities, or starting charitable foundations of their own. Our focus today is on some of the legends included in the 600 home run club, and their charitable contributions.
Alex Rodriguez, affectionately known as A-Rod, is a third basemen for the New York Yankees, and widely regarded as one of the finest players to have graced the game. He is the youngest player to have reached the 600 home run mark, and at age 38, is showing few signs of slowing down. Rodriguez started the A-Rod Family Foundation with the intention of raising money for the underprivileged population of Miami. The foundation conducted a celebrity poker tournament that raised a significant figure only to come under heavy scrutiny by the IRS. Nevertheless, A-Rod donated approximately $3.9 million to the University of Miami in 2003, to help renovate their stadium, that earned him the status of "honorary alumnus" from the university.
Willie Mays is another all time great that has rightly earned a place in the 600 home run club. Mays' accolades include being chosen as an All Star on 24 occasions and an inclusion into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Mays, like many of his contemporaries was also heavily focused on contributing to charitable causes, starting the Say Hey Foundation that was and continues to be committed to providing opportunities for underprivileged children and minorities to realize their dreams, whatever they may be. The Say Hey Foundation is also concerned with improving the quality of life that minority populations experience, in a quest to develop safer communities.
With 609 home runs over a career that spanned around 18 years, Sammy Sosa is another household name. Over the course of his career, Sosa played for four different teams, and racked up a range of awards and honors including being nominated as an All Star on seven occasions, and winning the Silver Slugger Award six times. Despite his enormous success, Sosa never lost track of his roots, and has expressed his support to a number of reputed charities in the United States. He is particularly known for his support of the HollyRod Foundation. The HollyRod Foundation is committed to providing support in all forms to individuals that are suffering from debilitating conditions like Parkinson's. Sosa has particularly supported causes that aim to improve quality of life for disadvantaged populations, with special regard to health.