It’s the 6th year of HOPE Week for the Yankees. HOPE Week started in 2009 as a way to recognize and support the community areas of the Yankees organization. It’s my favorite week of the year because it represents the heart of the Yankees — their heart and compassion for people, encouraging them to go for their personal excellence just like the players do on the field.
Helping Others Persevere and Excel (hence HOPE) Week this year began with the Yankees hosting a reunion of sorts for the organizations they’ve honored for the last 5 years to come back and celebrate. They rented out the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on the West Side of Manhattan to host a lunch and allow their past honorees to explore the museum and hang out with some Yankee legends like David Cone and Mariano Rivera, GM Brian Cashman, and current pitcher (but on the DL) Ivan Nova.
And in other baseball news, Hall of Famer and former Padre outfielder Tony Gwynn passed away today at the age of 54 due to salivary gland cancer. Gwynn is easily ranked up as one of the greatest hitters of his generation, with great patience for the strike zone, rarely striking out. He was an 8-time NL batting champion, 15-time All-Star, 7-time Silver Slugger, and 5-time Gold Glover. He was elected to Cooperstown in 2007 on the first ballot with 97.6% of the votes.
His former peers and current players tweeted out their memories and love for Gwynn, his family, and his legacy. Gwynn’s son Tony Gwynn Jr. currently plays for the Phillies.
Gwynn’s death is a reminder as to some of the good changes made in baseball since I was a kid. Instead of chewing tobacco, dugouts are littered with sunflower seed husks and chewing gum wrappers. It serves to remind young people to be careful what you put in your body. Even if you’re a professional ball player, you’re not invincible. We want you around as long as possible, so take care of yourself.
And because it’s HOPE Week, take care of others too.