Mar 5, 2024

Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals Wins Phi Delta Theta Fraternity’s Lou Gehrig Memorial Award

Philanthropy/Service/ALS The Scroll News
Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals Wins Phi Delta Theta Fraternity’s Lou Gehrig Memorial Award

Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals has won this year’s Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, sponsored by the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity, headquartered in Oxford, Ohio. Phi Delta Theta presents the award annually to a Major League Baseball player who best exemplifies the giving character of Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig, who was a member of the Fraternity’s Columbia University chapter. The award was first presented in 1955 and is permanently maintained at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

Goldschmidt is the seventh member of the St. Louis Cardinals to win the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award following Stan Musial (1957), Ken Boyer (1964), Lou Brock (1977), Ozzie Smith (1989), Mark McGwire (1999), and Albert Pujols (2009). He will receive the award on Tuesday, June 11, prior to the Cardinals’ game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Past recipients of the award include Stan Musial, Brooks Robinson, Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron, Harmon Killebrew, Willie Stargell, Johnny Bench, George Brett, Kent Hrbek, Cal Ripken Jr., Don Mattingly, Tony Gwynn, Jim Thome, John Smoltz, Derek Jeter, Adrian Beltre, and many more.

A look at the history of the award

Photo by St. Louis Cardinals, LLC

Off the Field

Since signing with the Cardinals in 2018, Paul has worked with the Big League Impact (BLI) Foundation (founded by former teammate Adam Wainwright) in charitable efforts. Beginning in 2021, Paul has participated in the #ALLWIN campaign, pledging dollars for causes close to his heart and asking fans to join him. In 2021, Paul raised $46,420 to help build a community center in the Dominican Republic with Food for the Hungry. In 2022, Paul raised $50,000 for Habitat for Humanity St. Louis, an organization that provides an opportunity for families living in substandard rental housing to help build and then purchase a home they can afford to maintain and in 2023, he played for The Little Bit Foundation, a local nonprofit that aims to empower students to achieve their academic goals and dreams for the future by breaking down barriers to learning for students living in poverty.

Paul participated in BLI’s 2023 Swinging for Impact event, which raised over $120,000 to continue BLI’s mission to help meet basic human needs like food, clean water, medical care, shelter, and education in an effort to save lives, restore dignity, and instill hope.

Photo by St. Louis Cardinals, LLC

A finalist for the 2022 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, Paul helped surprise an individual with ALS with a customized wheelchair during the Cardinals’ Lou Gehrig Day tribute. The recipient and his wife shared how the chair would better their lives and were touched by Paul’s involvement and compassion. He signed the Lou Gehrig bat used in MLB’s auction and provided the Lou Gehrig baseballs to the ALS Association in St. Louis and the Muscular Dystrophy Association to support their fundraising efforts.

On August 31, Paul hosted his second Uncork for a Cause, a gala to benefit Water Mission, a nonprofit Christian engineering organization that designs, builds, and implements safe water, sanitation, and hygiene solutions for people in developing countries and disaster areas. Paul believes it is important to stress to children, particularly coaches and parents, that there is more to sports than winning. In September 2023, he hosted a free baseball clinic for more than 150 children aged seven to thirteen at the Ballwin Athletic Association for this purpose. Cardinals Care Redbird Rookies youth baseball program participants and Little League players were in attendance.

Paul and his wife, Amy, enjoy spending time with pediatric patients in St. Louis. Actively involved with the non-profit Friends of Kids with Cancer, they not only offer their time but also provide financial support to the cause. Every year, the Goldschmidts make a heartfelt commitment to hospital visits and contribute to Make-A-Wish and Wives for Wishes events, which plays a significant role in raising funds to fulfill the dreams of local children. He autographed baseballs for the Cardinals Family Grab Bag Event, which raised nearly $50,000 this year for area nonprofits: Angels’ Arms, Covenant House, KEEN St. Louis, and Lydia’s House.

Photo by St. Louis Cardinals, LLC

Paul strongly supports the Cardinals team charity, Cardinals Care. Annual financial contributions and signing of memorabilia used for silent auctions help support the flagship Redbird Rookies program, a free baseball/softball program for children aged five to thirteen, and the charity’s Grant and Youth Ballfield programs. Paul annually attends the Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up signing autographs for fans who donated to Cardinals Care.

Since 2019, Paul’s Ticket Program, Goldy’s Golden Ticket, has brought deserving youth organizations to a game. He provides t-shirts, photo cards, tickets, and food vouchers and meets with groups to answer questions, sign autographs, and take photos. Over the years, Paul has met with hundreds of children, including this season children from Scott Air Force Base Library, The James Project, which supports foster families by providing houses, parental support, children’s provisions, and a community of supporters, and STL Youth Sports Outreach, who provide lightly-used donated sports equipment to children who otherwise may not be able to play due to the high cost of such equipment.

Photo by St. Louis Cardinals, LLC

On the Field

Paul Goldschmidt, as a veteran player and the reigning National League MVP in 2023, continued to be a leader on the team, playing in 154 games, collecting 159 hits—twenty-five of which were home runs—and collecting eighty RBI while being a steady force at first base. A seven-time MLB All-Star, Goldschmidt has also won two Hank Aaron Awards, four Gold Gloves and five Silver Slugger Awards, the latter of which is the most among first baseman.

Photo by St. Louis Cardinals, LLC

Lou Gehrig Memorial Award Finalists

Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity, in partnership with the Live Like Lou Foundation and the Permobil Foundation, is proud to recognize the finalists for the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. The award’s recipient, second- and third-place vote-getters, and their respective teams will have the opportunity to surprise an individual battling ALS in their community with a custom, team-branded, Permobil wheelchair. Fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-place vote-getters and their respective teams will have the opportunity to surprise a college student from a family facing ALS in their community with a Lou Gehrig Memorial Scholarship.

Phi Delta Theta Fraternity is proud to partner with the Live Like Lou Foundation and the Permobil Foundation to help give these priceless gifts to those affected by ALS.

Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

Photo by New York Yankees

In 2022, Aaron Judge made baseball history by establishing an American League record of sixty-two home runs. He was later named the sixteenth captain in Yankees franchise history and just the second since 1996, leaving his mark in pinstripes forever.

Well before the honor of captain was bestowed on Judge, he founded the Aaron Judge ALL RISE Foundation in 2018, setting in motion the opportunity to make a difference in the communities that are near and dear to his heart, specifically San Joaquin County, Fresno County, and the Bronx. ALL RISE inspires children and youth to become responsible citizens by engaging and encouraging them to reach unlimited possibilities. Over time, its goal is to honor those who have had a positive influence on these children while creating a legacy to continue to guide future generations.

ALL RISE has supported over 2,000 youth in the aforementioned communities of focus through various programs and initiatives. In 2023, Bridge2College and NYC Autism Charter Schools (NYCACS) received support from ALL RISE through its mini-grant program, which has supported twenty-six community-based organizations, public and private agencies, and faith-based organizations overall.

In addition, the mission of inspiring youth to reach their dreams continues to be reflected via the foundation’s Aspiring Leaders program. With an emphasis on the core components of leadership, citizenship, character development, and community involvement, the Aspiring Leaders program aims to create a path for future generations to become responsible citizens in society.

Photo by New York Yankees

In 2019, ALL RISE provided registration and transportation for 118 students in California to one of three leadership conferences: the Modesto Spring Student Leadership Conference, the Woodland Fall Student Leadership Conference for high school students and the Woodland Fall Student Leadership Conference for middle school students. In 2023, ALL RISE sent a delegation of seventeen junior high school students from Linden Unified to attend the California Association of Directors of Activities and California Association of Student Leaders (CADA and CASL) Modesto Central Valley Spring Student Leadership Conference.

ALL RISE also focuses on establishing activities in an appropriate atmosphere to enhance skills development. Since 2018, Judge has hosted multiple baseball ProCamps in California and New York. This year, local youth attended the Aaron Judge ALL RISE Baseball ProCamp at Fordham University in the Bronx where Judge offered tips and hands-on instruction, fundamental baseball skills clinics, and various contests.

Judge and ALL RISE also partner with the #ICANHELP and the I Can Help Delete Negativity initiatives aimed at combating toxic behavior on social media by spreading positivity online. In 2020, he also represented Major League Baseball in The Real Heroes Project, a collaborative program that was created to recognize and celebrate healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Judge was named the recipient of the 2022 Roberto Clemente Award. Day in and day out, Aaron Judge exemplifies what it means to be an active and attentive member of his communities. His commitment to creating opportunities and pathways of success for future generations encompasses a true legacy of humanitarianism.

Carlos Correa, Minnesota Twins

Photo by Minnesota Twins

Since the day Carlos Correa signed with the Twins, he has demonstrated an impressive commitment to making an impact on the field as well as in the Minnesota Twins community. During his time in Minnesota, Carlos has quickly established a reputation as a force for good and a fierce advocate for several important causes—but Carlos’s dedication to service began long before his career brought him to the Twins.

Upon arriving in Minnesota, Carlos and his wife, Daniella, developed a game plan to build on the incredible legacy of impact they began in Houston through the Correa Family Foundation, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit they founded in 2019. The Correas quickly cultivated a relationship with Children’s Minnesota, one of the top children’s hospitals in the nation, to make a local impact through the Foundation’s two main goals: providing unique experiences to improve the emotional well-being of kids and their families and offering financial support to help cover the indirect and non-medical costs associated with a pediatric cancer diagnosis.

Carlos’s involvement with Children’s Minnesota has come to life in hospital rooms, at Target Field, and in communities across Minnesota. Carlos and Daniella have visited Children’s Minnesota to meet patients receiving inpatient cancer treatment and outpatient care through the Cancer and Blood Disorders Clinic. Every month, the Correas also host two Heroes of the Month at a Twins game to honor pediatric cancer patients who exemplify bravery, hope, and outstanding courage. They provide the child and their family with an unforgettable experience of watching batting practice, enjoying the game from the Champions Club, and potentially meeting Carlos.

Photo by Minnesota Twins

Carlos has inspired youth across Twins Territory to make a difference, too. In 2022, Carlos and his foundation partnered with the Minnetonka Baseball Association for the “Batting Against Childhood Cancer” campaign, which engaged youth baseball players to raise awareness and $50,000—matched by the Correas for a total of $100,000—to benefit cancer patients at Children’s Minnesota. Since joining the Twins, the Correa Family Foundation has provided powerful financial assistance for more than fifty families to cover essential costs—rent, mortgage payments, car repairs, transportation, groceries, and extended-stay lodging—while their children receive cancer care at Children’s Minnesota.

Carlos and Daniella have also been instrumental supporters of the Twins Community Fund and its mission to enrich local communities through the game of baseball. The Correas have provided generous financial support to the Twins Community Fund and participated in fundraising events like TwinsFest. In 2023, Carlos partnered with Gray Duck Spirits on a limited-edition bottle featuring collectible Correa baseball cards to benefit the Twins Community Fund. Carlos and Daniella also participate in Twins initiatives like the Twins Week of Service, where Carlos and Daniella supported Every Meal, a local nonprofit fighting child hunger.

The impact doesn’t stop there—Carlos’s impact has reached far beyond the communities where he plays. As part of their mission, Carlos and his foundation also support communities affected by emergencies and natural disasters. From bringing essential supplies to Puerto Rico after the 2020 earthquake to collecting $3 million worth of donated medical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic to providing financial support to families affected by the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Carlos and his foundation have stepped up to support local communities during times of immeasurable need.

Matt Olson, Atlanta Braves

Photo by Atlanta Braves

First baseman Matt Olson is an All-Star on and off the field. Since being traded to his hometown, Atlanta Braves, before the 2022 season, Olson has made a significant contribution to the Braves Country community by fundraising on behalf of autism awareness and advocacy, providing inclusive gameday experiences for fans with sensory sensitivities, and creating memories with young Braves fans with life-altering illnesses.

Olson grew up in Lilburn, a suburb of Atlanta, and attended Parkview High School with lifelong friend Reece Blankenship, a non-verbal autistic. In 2010, when Olson was in tenth grade, he became an applied behavior analysis therapist for Reece, who was in ninth grade at the time. Olson continued to work with Reece throughout high school and carried that on in the off-season as a minor league player in the Oakland Athletics farm system.

When Reece began to dream about opening a fitness-based therapy center in his hometown for others on the autism spectrum, Olson was the first to pledge a $5,000 donation to help start the company. ReClif opened its doors in 2017 with the mission to change the conversation surrounding autism by empowering, accepting, supporting, and advocating for people on the spectrum.

Photo by Atlanta Braves

In 2019, ReClif started a nonprofit arm, ReClif Community, aiming to provide a chance for more typical life experiences for individuals living with autism and those that care for them. ReClif Community also intends to empower beneficiaries with cognitive focused activities, social outreach, scholarships, and societal inclusion. In January 2023, Matt and Nicole Olson hosted their inaugural Casino Night at Truist Park, raising more than $250,000 for ReClif Community to continue their work in the autism community. They have already started planning to replicate this event in 2024.

Olson generously donates 1 percent of his salary to the Atlanta Braves Foundation. Through his annual contribution, the Braves have created The Matt Pack, a program that invites families impacted by autism to enjoy a complimentary, sensory-friendly game experience at Truist Park. The seats are branded with Olson’s name and number, handicap accessible, and include a gift pack (with an Olson t-shirt enclosed). The seats are also conveniently located close to a quiet space at the ballpark, and Matt Pack guests are given a lanyard that grants them access to this special area.

Olson also enjoys hosting young Braves fans from Make-A-Wish at Truist Park, providing memorable experiences and enhancing kids’ wishes. This season, he also donated his salary on Jackie Robinson Day to the Player’s Alliance to support struggling inner-city and rural baseball teams. He is a clubhouse leader and an integral part of the Braves Country community. His calm demeanor and accepting manner have been instrumental in him being a friend to those who need it most.

Hunter Greene, Cincinnati Reds

Photo by Cincinnati Reds

Hunter’s philanthropic journey began in his formative years, ignited by a passion for community service that manifested when he was just six years old. From the outset, his involvement in a book drive signaled the start of a lifelong commitment to giving back. With a promise to his family and himself to extend aid to those in need once he had a platform, Hunter’s dedication to uplifting others remained steadfast throughout his life’s journey. This early vow served as a guiding principle, propelling him forward with a sense of purpose and responsibility.

As Hunter’s career flourished, so did his efforts to make a tangible difference in the lives of those around him. He recognized the unique influence professional athletes wield and sought to leverage it for positive change. Through initiatives like the Sunset Tour, Hunter not only provided essential resources like baseball cleats but also fostered a sense of community among young athletes. Since beginning in 2019, Hunter’s Sunset Tour has given away over 3,500 pairs of cleats. From the heart of California to the streets of Cincinnati, his outreach efforts spanned far and wide, leaving a lasting impact on thousands of lives.

Photo by Cincinnati Reds

Hunter’s commitment to philanthropy extended beyond mere gestures; it encompassed meaningful engagements that touched hearts and inspired minds. From hosting veterans for an ice cream social at Great American Ball Park to sharing wisdom with aspiring athletes at the DREAM Series, his altruism knew no bounds. Commemorating Jackie Robinson Day, he imparted valuable insights to students, leaving an indelible mark on their understanding of the baseball legend’s legacy and the importance of resilience in the face of adversity.

Hunter’s philanthropic endeavors transcended geographical boundaries, with his impact being felt on a global scale. Venturing to Dubai and other destinations during offseasons, he not only distributed elite gear but also shared inspirational stories with aspiring ballplayers worldwide. Through initiatives like the free Hunter Greene Baseball Camp, he not only honed athletic skills but also instilled lessons in leadership and history, nurturing the potential of future generations.

Rooted in his own upbringing and experiences, Hunter’s commitment to community engagement is unwavering. As a product of Major League Baseball’s Urban Youth Academy in Compton, California, he understood the importance of nurturing talent and fostering growth in underserved communities. His continued presence at the academy symbolized his dedication to uplifting the next generation of athletes and leaders, embodying the transformative power of compassion and empathy in creating a better world. Hunter’s journey exemplified the profound impact one individual can have when driven by a genuine desire to give back and make a difference in the lives of others.

Mike Yastrzemski, San Francisco Giants

Photo by San Francisco Giants

Mike Yastrzemski (“Yaz”) knows first-hand the mental and physical strength needed to make it to ‘The Show.’ With the first six years of his professional baseball career spent playing for ten different major and minor league teams, Yaz endured the stress and strain of baseball. This is why Yastrzemski continues—throughout his major league career with the San Francisco Giants—to prioritize uplifting and supporting his teammates and communities that face similar mental health struggles to his own.

In 2019, while playing for the Sacramento River Cats, Yaz witnessed one of his teammates grow his mustache throughout May. The teammate played an incredible month of baseball, sparking an idea for Yaz. During his tenure with the Giants in May 2021, Yaz found himself in a slump of play and soon remembered the ‘good luck’ that a mustache brought one of his former teammates. With the initial intention of simply growing a mustache to catch a ‘hot streak’ in 2021, Yaz encouraged other Giants players—including Austin Slater— to follow suit the following season. And thus, the Giants Mustache May was born.

In 2022, Yastrzemski, with his wife Paige’s support, brought Mustache May back to life—but this time to give back to his community and raise awareness for mental health. The Yastrzemskis created unique merchandise for fans to purchase, with 100 percent of profits supporting the Heart and Armor Foundation, promoting the cause, and inspiring others to prioritize their mental health. For Yaz, Mustache May means sporting a mustache—an opportunity to look in the mirror and smile; it is a time to acknowledge his silly appearance and not to take himself too seriously. His platform provides a unique opportunity to bring greater acknowledgment and understanding of mental wellness to baseball athletes, coaches, staff, and fans everywhere.

Photo by San Francisco Giants

As longtime supporters of the military, Mike and Paige routinely host veterans and their families from Heart and Armor and other veteran organizations at Oracle Park, building personal relationships with many during meet-and-greets and dynamic conversations around mental health.

Continuing their message and work to uplift and inspire others, the Yastrzemskis are avid supporters of the local nonprofit Family House, where they regularly visit to interact with children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, play baseball, sign autographs, take pictures, and engage in tours of the facilities and residences. As steady supporters of Jr. Giants and the Giants Community Fund, the Yastrzemskis also provide inspiring messages and encouragement to young baseball and softball players throughout the Bay Area.

In recognition of his character, during the 2020 season, Yastrzemski was selected as the winner of the prestigious Willie Mac Award, which is presented to the most inspirational Giants player who exemplifies competitive spirit, ability, and leadership, as voted on by Giants players, coaches, training staff, clubhouse staff, and the fans, in honor of Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.

Lou Gehrig Memorial Award Nominees

Phi Delta Theta is proud to share the names of all team nominees for this year’s award. Each nominee has done amazing things in his communities and for his team. (Listed alphabetically)

Alex Bregman, Houston Astros

Photo by Houston Astros

Zac Gallen, Arizona Diamondbacks

Photo by Arizona Diamondbacks

Jon Gray, Texas Rangers

Photo by Texas Rangers

Austin Hays, Baltimore Orioles

Photo by Baltimore Orioles

Jason Heyward, Los Angeles Dodgers

Photo by Los Angeles Dodgers

Shane McClanahan, Tampa Bay Rays

Photo by Tampa Bay Rays

Josh Naylor, Cleveland Guardians

Photo by Cleveland Guardians

Garrett Whitlock, Boston Red Sox

Photo by Boston Red Sox

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