New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia is known for delivering fastballs, changeups, and sliders to strike out batters. But during this holiday season, Sabathia is spreading cheer and handing out gifts to the children of the Madison Square Boys & Girls Columbus Clubhouse.
On Tuesday, Sabathia and his wife, Amber, hosted 52 youngsters (in honor of Sabathia’s uniform number) at their annual holiday party. The event was held at the MLB Fan Cave in New York City and was part of Sabathia’s PitCCh In Foundation.
The excited kids took advantage of the Fan Cave’s home run slide, ping-pong table, photo booth, and arcade games. They also received t-shirts from CCandy, caps and socks from Brand Jordan, and Samsung tablets.
Sabathia worked with many of the kids at the party over the past three years through the Boys and Girls Club. It’s an organization that holds a special place in the 2009 ALCS MVP’s heart. As a kid, Sabathia was a member of the Continental of Omega Boys & Girls Club in Vallejo, California. It’s where he would go to do his homework and get tutoring, as well as try new sports and activities.
“The Boys and Girls Club, for me, was a safe haven,” Sabathia remembered. “It also exposed me to a lot. I went on my first camping trip with the club and played organized sports, like basketball, for the first time there.”
It was at the Boys & Girls Club that Sabathia realized he wanted to be a pro ballplayer. When he was a kid, Sabathia’s favorite player, Oakland A’s pitcher Dave Stewart, came and talked to the group. That visit left a lasting impression on the future Yankees ace.
“The time he shared with all of us is one of the reasons I’m here now,” Sabathia said.
Now, Sabathia is giving kids the same kind of experience through events like his holiday party. And who knows? Maybe one of them will grow up to be Major League Baseball’s next great pitcher.
Photo: Heinz Kluetmeier/Sports Illustrated