George Springer, Trevor Story make joint $150K contribution to ‘Grow the Game’ fund
Toronto Blue Jays outfielder George Springer and Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story have partnered to make a joint $150,000 contribution to the “Grow the Game” fund, which aspires to benefit, inspire and provide financial assistance to Black and underprivileged youth athletes who want to play baseball or softball in their communities.
“Grow the Game” is an offshoot of the Perfect Game Cares Foundation, which agreed to match the donation of the two MLB stars to bring the total influx of funds to $300,000.
Both Springer and Story issued statements regarding their contribution.
“As a Black baseball player myself, one of my goals is to make the sport more accessible to athletes of color,” said Springer, per PR Newswire. “I’m proud to be a part of this initiative and provide help to underprivileged kids who need the financial assistance to further their careers.”
“It’s extremely important to break down the barriers that have kept Black and underprivileged kids from pursuing a career in baseball,” said Story. “These funds will go towards helping kids from impoverished communities participate in programs that would normally be outside their financial means.”
Perfect Game Founder and President Jerry Ford said in a statement that the organization is “very grateful and proud” of the two major leaguers for their interest and financial backing.
“It means so much that they care about our mission to help those that lack the financial resources necessary to get better opportunities,” Ford added, “and it is an honor to recognize their generosity by matching their contribution.”
The number of Black youth taking an interest in baseball has been steadily decreasing for some time. Many attribute the decline to how Black athletes in Major League Baseball are largely underrepresented. The issue was examined in an NPR piece last year that makes note how the number of Black MLB players had dwindled at the time to only 8.4%, according to a study by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports.
Black players, however, made up 20% of first-round MLB draft picks between 2012-2018, the NPR report highlights, so things are trending in a positive direction in that regard.
Funds donated to “Grow the Game” are used to ensure that financial restraints do not prevent youth athletes of color from participating in baseball and softball. That same goal inspired Story and Springer to partner up on this endeavor, and the two share the the hope that the funds contributed will remove any barriers between athletes of color and underprivileged youth and the game the two major leaguers love.