With all of the negative news that perforates sports these days, sometimes it is hard to imagine there are great role models in professional athletics. The bad guys who commit crimes dominate the airwaves and newspaper articles. Meanwhile, legitimate good guys get dismissed. Someone being a genuine human doesn’t drive reader traffic.
Kids looking for on and off-field role models do have Major League Baseball players to follow, though. They just have to know who to emulate. These guys are great workers, humanitarians, or combinations of both. They have the work ethic to succeed at the highest level and also know what it takes to help their communities. Here are five good guys of MLB that parents should tell their kids about.
Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
Rizzo is forever a hero in the city of Chicago for his part in nabbing the Cubs’ first World Series in over 100 years. He is also someone to be idolized for his off-field work.
Rizzo started the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation after he himself was diagnosed with and recovered from cancer. Besides donating money, which is obviously important, Rizzo also donates his time, which cannot be overlooked. From walking in 5Ks to meeting with sick children who are going through the same thing he battled, Rizzo is the perfect role model.
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
Somehow, Mike Trout is arguably the greatest player of his generation, yet no one knows much about him. He is the quietest superstar in recent memory. Simply enough, Trout just does his job, and does it extremely well.
He is one of the hardest workers in the sport, possesses the ultimate swing which he has honed over years of practice, and has no discernible weakness. Trout is the quintessential five-tool player with skills that range from power to speed to arm strength.
Finding an on-field role model in baseball isn’t hard. Just look to the sport’s best player and the guy who should win AL MVP every single year.
Curtis Granderson, New York Mets
Grandersonis a majorly underrated power hitter. He started off his career in Detroit as a spindly looking speedster. As he aged, he worked on his body and added power to his repertoire., and because of that he’s now good for 30+ home runs a season.
But he’s done a lot of work off the field as well. He started the Grand Kids Foundation, which helps kids with “the power of education and movement,” through physical fitness and nutrition. The foundation offers scholarships and programs for youngsters, as well as fun events like toy drives and camps.
Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
It feels as though Joe Mauer has been a prototypical MLB player since birth. But in reality, he worked very hard to develop a beautiful swing that carried him to the top of his sport. In the field, Mauer was once an elite catcher but has learned to transition to other positions to help prolong his career. It’s a step that few major leaguers could successfully make.
To top it all off, Mauer is reportedly one of the nicest guys in baseball and an elite representative of his home state of Minnesota. A few years back, he appeared on a list of the nicest players, voted on by his peers in the league. You know a guy is good when his competitors and baseball enemies throw him some love.
Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners
It is hard to find a player in baseball with better technique than Robinson Cano. Lefties are known for having prettier swings than their right-handed counterparts, but even for a lefty, Cano’s swing appears perfect. When anyone points to the perfect swing technique, Cano is the go-to guy now that Ken Griffey Jr. is long since retired.
The only downside to Cano’s game was his lackadaisical appearance on the defensive side. When he was a member of the New York Yankees, fans used to get on him for his nonchalant play in the field. However, he remained a quality defensive player with good range and arm strength for his position.
After a rough beginning to his Seattle career, he bounced back in 2016 with another highly successful defensive year, reminiscent of his years in pinstripes. Signed as an amateur free agent from the Dominican Republic, Cano has put together an incredible major-league career; one worthy of admiring and learning from for the next generation.
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