2019 Nominee – Steven Matz
Since making his major-league debut in 2015, Steven Matz has been focused on making an impact on and off the field.
Steven has always held military service members and first responders in high regard. If he wasn’t a professional baseball player, Steven would want to be a firefighter. During his first full-season in the big leagues in 2016, Steven wanted to use his platform as a way to say thank you to those who risk their lives defending and saving others. Steven started the Tru32 program which pays tribute to the first responders of the New York City Fire and Police Departments, and military service members.
Every Wednesday during the 2016 season, Steven – who wears number 32 – invited 32 of these true heroes to the ballpark along with one guest. They watched batting practice, received an exclusive Tru32 t-shirt and then got a chance to meet Steven. The Long Island native took a photo and signed autographs for each and every honoree – almost 300 that season. The honorees and their guests then stayed for the game.
Tru32 has continued every year since with Steven expanding the program to include first-responders from the Port Authority Police Department as well.
Steven’s respect for first responders extends beyond Citi Field. He has visited numerous New York City firehouses and interacted with military service members and their families at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington.
Upon hearing the story of the late FDNY Lieutenant Christopher Raguso, who died in March of 2018 in a helicopter crash near Syria while serving in the Air National Guard, Steven donated money to the FDNY Foundation to help Raguso’s two young children. Steven also created a video tribute to Raguso that aired on Mets social media channels on Memorial Day.
Steven’s commitment to helping others includes more than honoring first responders.
The Long Island native donated $20,000 to Angela’s House in 2016 tied to his strikeout totals for the season. Angela’s House, based near Steven’s hometown in Stony Brook, assists families caring for medically frail children living at home with their parents or in special homes that offer 24-hour support.
He also was one of the first players to volunteer for the Mets Spring Training Clinic for Champions in February in Port St. Lucie, Florida. He worked with Special Olympic athletes on pitching and helped create wonderful memories for more than 80 youngsters.
Steven has also traveled to rural Honduras to assist orphans and underprivileged children, visited patients at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, worked with Citigroup to support area-little league organizations, and participated in the MLBPA Players Trust equipment-matching program to provide youngsters in the area with the equipment they need to play the game of baseball.
As Steven’s career progresses, his achievements on the mound will help the Mets win, but his caring and compassion in the community will make him a true hero.