Updated: Oct 2, 2022
Byron Buxton Minnesota Twins Outfielder The Minnesota Twins Baseball Club is honored to nominate Byron Buxton for the 2022 Bob Feller Act of Valor Award. In addition to his remarkable performance as a Minnesota Twins outfielder, Byron has used his platform to support military service members and their families throughout Twins Territory. His career-long commitment to the military community highlights his personal values of service and integrity. Beyond his performance on the field, Byron has been a leader in the Twins community for his outreach to those who serve our country. Byron’s older brother, Felton, serves in the U.S. Navy, so Byron understands and values the sacrifices that military service members and their families make. Byron and his wife, Lindsey, continually seek new ways to provide memorable opportunities for military families and thank them for their service, like inviting members of the Minnesota National Guard to play catch on the field. This season Byron continues his Buxton’s Battalion program for the fourth year in a row. Families of service members are invited to Target Field every Tuesday for a special batting practice viewing session, a meet and greet, and tickets to that evening’s game. While the format looked slightly different in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic (personalized videos were shared instead of in-person meetings), Byron is excited to have the program being back in fully swing this year.
Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels Outfielder The Bob Feller Act of Valor Award is honored to nominate Mike Trout for his work in making suicide awareness and mental health one of his and his wife, Jessica,main causes. They partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the apparel company, Tiny Turnip to create an initiative called " Your Game Isn't Over Yet; with the semi colon representing the symbol for suicide prevention. The Bob Feller Act of Valor Award Foundation is hoping to partner with Trout for support in addressing the military suicide epidemic that takes the lives of 22 Veterans and service members daily. In 2020, he interacted with the BFAOV Foundation on social media.
San Francisco Giants
Outfielder Throughout his time in a San Francisco Giants uniform, Mike Yastrzemski, along with his wife Paige, has been dedicated to providing experiences for local Veterans while building the Veteran community through baseball at Oracle Park and throughout the Bay Area. Yastrzemski has teamed up with Heart & Armor, a Veterans health organization that is dedicated to protecting the health of Veterans, and connecting civilians to the experience of military service members. In addition to hosting Veterans at Oracle Park for games, the Yastrzemskis' have been dedicated to learning about the experiences of military members and their families. Yastrzemski’s enthusiasm for bettering his community is contagious and his excitement and passion for serving and assisting those in need, especially those who have served our country, is an inspiration.
New York Mets Pitcher Carlos Carrasco is someone who understands sacrifice, commitment, and embodies the values and integrity that Bob Feller himself possessed. As a former winner of the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, Carlos understands his platform and uses it to make a real impact on different communities. As part of the Cookie’s Kids program, Carlos invites children battling pediatric cancer to Citi Field for a special afternoon. He brings them onto the field, shows them the dugout and bullpen and demonstrates his pitching tactics. Carlos is a special candidate for the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award because of his own battle with leukemia, allowing him to really understand what the children and families of his program are going through. He empathizes and relates to them on a different level, which is unique to other players.
San Diego Padres Pitcher While with the Milwaukee Brewers, Josh Hader has been a consistent supporter of military initiatives such as; Stars and Stripes Honor Flights, Hometown Heroes, Fisher House Wisconsin, Milwaukee and Milwaukee VA Medical Center. He also regularly visited Veteran hospitals in Milwaukee, his hometown in Arizona, and when the team is on the road. Josh has provided in-kind support for several military fundraisers, have been part of several on-field ceremonies to honor Veterans and has contributed thousands of dollars towards military efforts.Josh has always been passionate about supporting military efforts. Regularly, he wears an army printed hat to the ballpark to show his support.
Los Angeles Dodgers Third Baseman Justin is a huge supporter of the U.S. Military and always takes time to show appreciation to those that have given so much. He always takes it upon himself to greet and shake the hand of the Military Hero of the Game that the Dodgers recognize for every home date, and also presents each with an autographed baseball. At every home game during the middle of the second inning, the Dodgers recognize a member of the U.S. Armed Forces near the Dodgers dugout as the "Military Hero of the Game." Their accomplishments are noted on DodgerVision, fans stand and applaud and then the service member walks by the Dodger dugout on the way up the stairs to his or her seat. Almost every game, that military person is stopped by Justin Turner, who reached over the railing for an emotional greeting. In 2015, the Dream Center approached Justin about their plan to open a Veterans Home and he was completely on board. The programs offer assistance as they make the difficult transition back into civilian life.
Boston Red Sox Pitcher
Chris has served as the Captain of the Red Sox Home Base Program. As captain heserved as a spokesman/ambassador of the program, which was founded in 2009 inpartnership with the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital. Theprogram helps service members, Veterans and their families heal from the invisiblewounds: traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress and related conditions.Chris purchased a suite once a month for veterans and theirfamilies. The group had the opportunity to spend some time with Chris before thegame, receiving autographs and photos.
Terry "Tito" Francona
Manager Terry also known as “Tito”, has two children that served in the military and has been committed to giving back to the military and military Veterans throughout his time in Cleveland. He launched his Friends of Francona charitable program early on in his stint as Cleveland’s manager. Through this program, he has been able to hosts guests from both the VA Medical Center and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). Francona covered guests’ tickets, food and beverage, and he also met with fans prior to the game. Those visiting from the VA Medical Center received a Friends of Francona t-shirt and camouflage Cleveland hat.
Outfielder While with the Florida Marlins, Christian Yelich participated in a player program calledSluggers for Soldiers where he brought out a total of 35 people (Veterans and their families) to meet him at batting practice. He also purchased t-shirts, tickets and food vouchers as well as distributed Marlin military coins to the group. His passion for the military comes from his brother who served overseas as a United States Marine. Comparing that with his own experiences, it seemed like an unfair mismatch. A point Yelich enthusiastically pointed out. Said Yelich, "And I'm in the big leagues. You go 0-5 with a couple of strikeouts and check into your room at the Ritz-Carlton."
Steven Matz St. Louis Cardinals
Steven Matz launched the TRU32 program in 2016 to say thank you to the true heroes first responders of the FDNY, NYPD and military. Steven is inviting 32 true heroes and a guest out to the ballpark every month throughout the season to enjoy a meet and greet with him, a meal, and a St. Louis game. Each hero receives a TRU32 shirt, takes a photo and receives an autograph from Steven prior to the game. In 2018, for every strikeout Steven record, he will donate to Pastime for Patriots. He has invited fans to participate with him in the matching program.