Each year, the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity presents the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award to the Major League Baseball Player who best exemplifies the spirit and character of Brother Lou Gehrig, both on and off the field. This award is the first and only “officially” sanctioned Major League Baseball award given to ballplayers by a fraternity. Lou Gehrig was a distinguished member of Phi Delta Theta and a man of integrity. The award was created to acknowledge an individual player’s outstanding commitment to both his community and philanthropy. Since the award’s inception in 1955, the name of each recipient has been placed on the permanent Gehrig Award plaque, located at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.
Meet this year’s nominees!
ADAM JONES – Outfielder – Baltimore Orioles
Nominated by Baltimore Alumni Club
Age: 29 – MLB Service: 13 Years – Born: San Diego, CA
Off the Field: Adam Jones spent time as a youth at the Jackie Robinson YMCA in San Diego. Those influential years at the Y motivated Jones to partner with the Y of Central Maryland in 2012. In 2013, Jones became the Honorary Chairman of the Y of Central Maryland’s Send a Child to Camp campaign, in which he helped the organization raise funds to give disadvantaged youth the opportunity to enjoy safe, fun and educational summer camp experiences. In 2014, Adam and the Orioles made a nearly $45,000 donation to the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Baltimore to remodel the club’s Teen Center. Jones also hosted the #StayHungry tailgate at the Baltimore Ravens vs. Tennessee Titans game, with proceeds going to the Boys & Girls Club. About the value of the Boys and Girls Club, Jones says “It’s a safe haven. These kids can be around their friends. Clubs like this are always needed, so I’m glad I was able to improve this one.” “I’ve got four more years on my contract, so I’ve got four more projects.”
On the Field: Adam Jones has played in 1,105 games, has 169 home runs, 577 RBIs, and 1,169 hits, the 7th highest in the American League. In 2013, he was awarded the Silver Slugger by Rawlings. Jones participated in the 2014 MLB All-Star Game, his fourth appearance, was named Gold Glove (his fourth), was given the Orioles Heart and Hustle Award (his second) and was a Home Run Derby participant.
ADRIAN BELTRE – Third Baseman – Texas Rangers
Nominated by Arlington Alumni Club
Age: 35 – MLB Service: 17 Years – Born: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Off the Field: Since 2011, Beltre has donated $100,000 each season to the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation. As part of his donation, he actively supports the Texas Rangers RBI and Junior RBI programs in North Texas. He also helps fund the “I Love Baseball” program, which works with children in the Dominican Republic to help them pursue their dream of playing professional baseball while getting an education and building a strong moral character. Beltre and his wife Sandra have always played a major role in the annual fundraising event of the Texas Rangers “Triple Play,” supporting the live and silent auctions, as well as participating in the game show. For the “Baseball Tomorrow Fund Equipment Drive,” he also helped build a playground in West Texas. Beltre participates in the Michael Young Family Foundation, Eddie Guardado Foundation, Manny Mota Foundation and Richard Durrett Fund. In 2013, Beltre won the MLBPAA Heart and Hustle Award for his active work in various charities such as the Building Smiles Together Program by Colgate and Walmart.
On the Field: The youngest player in the National League when he made his MLB debut for the Dodgers in 1998, Beltre has also played for the Seattle Mariners and Boston Red Sox. In 2004, he led Major League Baseball in home runs with 48, and was honored with the Babe Ruth Home Run Award. During his season with the Red Sox in 2010, he held the record for doubles and also tied for the American League lead in errors on defense by a third baseman. In 2013, Beltre held the record for the most hits in all of the MLB. On May 7, 2014, Beltre hit his 100th home run as a member of the Rangers, becoming only the fifth player in Major League History to hit 100 home runs with three different teams. He is 25th all-time in defensive Wins Above Replacement (23.2), first among active players, and ninth all-time among third basemen in total zone runs (114). Beltre, a four-time American League All-Star, has earned four Gold Gloves and three Silver Slugger Awards. Last season, he led the league in overall hits with 199.
DEVIN MESORACO – Catcher – Cincinnati Reds
Nominated by Cincinnati Reds – 2015
Age: 27 – MLB Service: 3 Years – Born: Punxsutawney, PA
Off the Field: Based on his commitment to the game of baseball and his involvement in the Cincinnati community, it is clear the Mesoraco demonstrates the character and leadership of Lou Gehrig both on and off the field. He works closely with the Make-A-Wish-Foundation, ensuring that he takes the time to visit patients at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and provide them with photos and autographs. Throughout the 2014 season, Mesoraco participated in various community events such as Reds Day at the Cincinnati Zoo, Season Ticket Holder luncheons, Reds Baseball Camp Q&A sessions, and the Reds Rookie Success League, a youth baseball and softball camp with an emphasis on character building.
Mesoraco has dedicated much of his community involvement to increasing awareness on the importance of youth baseball, as he has made a generous contribution to the Reds Community Fund, a foundation established to improve the lives of youth by leveraging the tradition of the Cincinnati Reds and the game of baseball. For the 2015 season, Mesoraco will serve as Honorary Captain of Red Heads, the official kids club of the Cincinnati Reds. With this responsibility, he will participate in kids-only press conferences, meet and greet opportunities and other special events for club members, all with the mission of encouraging leadership and generosity among the youth of Cincinnati.
On the Field: Before making his Major League debut in 2011, Mesoraco was ranked as the top prospect in the Reds organization, as well as the 14th best prospect in MLB by Jonathan Mayo. He went from being a backup catcher in 2013 to being named to his first All-Star team by National League manager Mike Matheny in 2014. After returning from the disabled list on May 16, he hit a three-run walk-off home run. He also logged three grand slams, which ties the club’s single-season record. Mesoraco led all Major League catchers in home runs and RBIs, finishing the 2014 season with 25 home runs and 80 RBIs in 114 games. On January 26, 2015, Mesoraco signed a four year contract extension with the Cincinnati Reds through the 2018 season.
JEREMY AFFELDT – Pitcher – San Francisco Giants
Nominated by San Francisco Giants – 2015
Age: 36 – MLB Service: 13 Years – Born: Phoenix, AZ
Off the Field: In 2005, Affeldt and his wife Marisa founded Generation Alive, a charitable organization that promotes developing a generation of young leaders committed to serving the needs of those living in poverty in the community. Generation Alive was awarded a $10,000 grant by AT&T for the 2014 Community All-Star dinner to promote projects to cease hunger, work with orphans, fund clean water initiatives and abolish child slavery across the globe.
Affeldt is a prominent member of Not for Sale’s Free2Play campaign, an organization that assists young adults who have escaped the world of human trafficking and slavery. For every strikeout he makes on the field, Affeldt donates $100 to go toward this campaign. In 2009, Affeldt was also recognized for his anti-slavery efforts by a nomination for the Jefferson Award for Public Service.
Affeldt is personally involved with Larkin Street Youth Services, an organization that works to house, educate and employ homeless and at-risk young people. He has raised over $5,000 for the organization in partnership with Peets Coffee, and helped record the public service announcement about Larkin to spread overall awareness.
Through his two-year nomination for the Major League Baseball Roberto Clemente Award in 2011 and 2012, it is clear that Affeldt has truly dedicated himself to bettering the community. He supports numerous community initiatives for the Giants Community Fund, such as funding the Take Me Out to the Ballgame program, which provides deserving Bay-area nonprofit agencies and community groups with the opportunity to obtain complimentary tickets to a Giants home game. He was awarded with an honorary degree from Whitworth University, recognizing his extraordinary work as an advocate for social justice, and he continues to be a major leader in the community for these efforts.
On the Field: Affeldt has spent the last six years as the relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, but has also played for the Kansas City Royals, the Colorado Rockies and the Cincinnati Reds throughout his 13-year career. Entering the 2015 season, his 674.1 innings as a reliever are the fourth-most among active pitchers in the Majors. Affeldt tied Minnesota’s Matt Guerrier for the Major League pitching lead with 33 holds, which is the second most in San Francisco single-season history. From May 8 to July 24, he posted a career-best 28.0-inning scoreless streak, marking the fifth longest streak by any pitcher in San Francisco history.
Affeldt is a three-time World Series champion, having helped win the Fall Classic in 2010, 2012 and 2014 with San Francisco. He finished the 2014 season with a record of 4-2 and a 2.28 ERA in 62 appearances. Throughout this same season, he only allowed one home run in 55.1 innings pitched.
DAVID PRICE – Pitcher – Detroit Tigers
Nominated by Tampa Bay Rays – 2013
Age: 29 – MLB Service: 7 Years – Born: Murfreesboro, TN
Off the Field: In 2008, Price founded Project One Four to support programs and charities in Tampa Bay and his hometown Nashville, Tennessee that provide opportunities for youth to learn life skills in a safe and supportive environment. Price holds an annual golf tournament, bowling event, and banquet to raise funds for local organizations. Last year Project One Four donated backpacks, school supplies, and laptops to local children in need. He also made monetary donations to various Boys and Girls Club locations totaling more than $26,000. The recent bowling tournament benefited Big Brothers Big Sisters. Through his Twitter account, Price recruited bowlers, met with each and raised over $10,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters. He also participated in a PSA for the BBBS Sports Buddies Program (an activity-based mentoring program aimed to increase male involvement in BBBS programming).
The Rays launched the South St. Petersburg Neighborhood Initiative in response to the tragic shooting of 8-year-old Paris Whitehead in South St. Petersburg. As a part of this program Price helped create the Dugout Club program and has since recruited several other players to expand the program. He sponsors two recreation centers in South St. Petersburg each summer and serves as a role model, teaching the kids about staying healthy, positive, involved and smart. Price visits his clubs twice throughout the summer to address the youngsters about making positive choices and working hard. He also provides t-shirts to the centers and presents them with a $2,000 check to the “angel fund” to help with additional expenses. Price and the other players recently hosted the 1,000-plus Dugout Club children at a Rays game. He has volunteered with the Miracle League (which arranges “buddies” for kids with disabilities to give them the opportunity to play baseball outdoors in a safe, fun-filled environment) and has donated approximately $10,000 in funding.
Price partnered with the Ted Williams Museum to host “An Evening with David Price” at Tropicana Field. More than $20,000 was raised for the City of Largo’s Youth Sports Participation Scholar Fund, Burg Baseball, a youth baseball program in St. Petersburg and the Miracle League of St. Petersburg.
On the Field: Price became a full-time starter in 2009. He is a 4-time MLB All Star, the most ever by a Rays’ pitcher. He finished second in the voting for the 2010 Cy Young Award. In 2012, Price was awarded the prestigious Cy Young award, finished season tied for first in the American League in wins, led the AL with a 2.56 ERA and became the Rays’ first 20-game winner.
In 2014, his regular season ERA was 3.26, he started a career-high 34 games, pitched 248.1 innings, gave up 230 hits, struck out 271 batters (best in AL )and faced a career high 1,009 batters. He finished 6th in voting for the Cy Yong Award.
BILLY BUTLER – Designated Hitter – Oakland Athletics
Nominated by Kansas City Royals – 2010
Age: 28 – MLB Service: 8 Years – Born: Orange Park, Florida
Off the Field: Butler and his wife, Katie, have volunteered at the Bishop Sullivan Center, Kansas City’s largest single-site provider of emergency assistance since 2007. In 2008, the Butlers introduced the “Hit a Ton” campaign to feed the hungry every time Butler hit a home run. In 2009, Butler and sponsoring companies donated two tons of food and raised $10,000. Butler has also actively encouraged fans to get involved by offering autographed memorabilia and attendance at a pre-game tailgate party. In this effort, fans have given over $200,000 in the first three years of the program. In addition to their work with the “Hit a Ton” campaign, Butler and his wife lead the charge each year for the annual Royals Wives Food Drive, hosting silent auction events, selling grab bags, and appearing at autograph sessions at local Hy-Vee grocery stores. For the collection of his efforts in the community, he received the Hutch Award in 2012. This award is given to a Major League Baseball player who best exemplifies the honor, courage and dedication of baseball great Fred Hutchinson, both on and off the field.
On the Field: Showing great potential in 2007, Butler was named the American League Rookie of the Month in July 2007, and in 2009, he was named the American League Player of the Week twice, and the American League Player of the Month in the month of September. He was rewarded as the Les Milgram Royals Player of the Year in 2009, 2010 and again in 2012. He is the only player to receive such an honor since the 1986 Gehrig Winner, George Brett. In 2010, he led the team in batting average, RBIs, walks, and on-base and slugging percentage. In 2011, he became a DH. In 2012, Billy demonstrated that the move to make him exclusively an offensive player was a smart decision as he became the 2012 Edgar Martinez Outstanding DH Award winner and won a Silver Slugger Award. In 2012, Butler had his best season yet with career highs in RBIs (107), HRs (29), hits (192), batting average (.313) and slugging average (.501). He was named a 2012 American League All-Star and in May 2013, Butler got his 1,000th hit. In 2013, he had career high of playing in 162 games. In 2014, Billy was an integral piece of the Kansas City Royals’ historic run to the World Series.