Kurt Suzuki Shows There Are Still Good Men Left in Major League Baseball

Steven ResnickSenior Writer IMay 19, 2009

Throughout the season so far, there have been four stories that have stood out for Major League Baseball.

One of the two major stories that gave baseball the negative press was the admission from Alex Rodriguez before the season that he took steroids during his tenure with the Texas Rangers.

In addition, a book written by Selena Roberts claims, among other things, that Rodriguez used steroids in high school as well.  

Manny Ramirez is the second negative story that baseball has gone through, as he was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for a banned substance.

The tragic loss that baseball suffered was the untimely passing of Nick Adenhart of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which was due to a drunk driver running a red light and slamming into Adenhart's car.

Lastly, the most inspiring story in baseball this year has been the pitching of Zack Greinke. Greinke, who earlier in his career had been diagnosed with depression and an anxiety disorder, has been performing like a Cy Young award winner and is on track to start the All Star game for the American League.

Yet, there's another story that hasn't made headlines, at least on Yahoo where I get most of my sports information. In actuality, the article that I read happened to be from MLB.com by Rhett Bollinger on May 14, 2009.

It was titled, "Suzuki Raising Funds for Former Teammate." The article is referring to Oakland A's catcher Kurt Suzuki and his wife Renee Suzuki.

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The Suzuki's are looking for donations to assist with Suzui's former teammate at Cal-State Fullerton, Jon Wilhite. Wilhite was the lone survivor of the crash that took the life of Nick Adenhart.

Why are the Suzuki's raising funds for Wilhite?

The answer is to help Wilhite and his family pay for his rehabilitation costs. One of the injuries Wilhite is rehabbing from is surgery of the brain where doctors had to reattach his skull and spinal column.

According to the article, there's going to be a fundraiser from May 22 to May 24. During this time, there will be a silent auction assisted by Renee Suzuki. Some of the items at the auction will be autographed items from former players on each side.

The list includes Suzuki, Jason Giambi, Chad Cordero, Bobby Crosby, Mark Kotsay, and Kirk Sarloos.

In June on the oaklandathletics.com Web site, there will be another auction in which Kurt and Renee will be assisted by Orlando and Katie Cabrera. 

On June 18, there will be another auction, this time with Renee and the rest of the A's wives selling a mystery autographed baseball. There will be memorabilia from both the American and National League. The memorabilia includes autographed Ryan Howard, Jonathan Papelbon, and Alex Rodriguez jerseys.

The auction will also include Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday autographed bats, autographed game used cleats by Jack Cust, and gear by Kurt Suzuki.

On July 19, there will be 300 baseballs in paper bags that will be sold for $40, which will go toward the Wilhite fund. The last will happen on Aug. 1, in which all the proceeds from the A's silent auction will go toward the Wilhite Fund and the A's Community Fund will match those donations.

Suzuki was quoted as saying:

"Our hearts go out to all the families of those involved in this terrible tragedy, my wife, Renee, and I are very close with Jon and his family and were devastated to hear about this horrific accident. As a professional athlete, I have the resources and opportunities to host these fundraisers and I only hope that the money raised will alleviate some of the cost that Jon and his family will be faced with during his long rehab process."

If you would like to donate to the fund there are a couple of ways of doing it.

One way is to make a donation to the Jon Wilhite Recovery Fund, account No. 3980643658, at any Wells Fargo Bank branch, or to a tax deductible account setup through Manhattan Beach Little League by mailing a check to:

P.O. Box 3512, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 with "Jon Wilhite Recovery Fund" written on the memo line.

It just goes to show that there are still some great guys in baseball, but unfortunately the big names like Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez will dominate over the good deeds of players that aren't superstars.

It's definitely a shame that it happens because Suzuki's reasons for assisting with the fund are very personal to him. He felt he needed to act on this especially since Wilhite was a teammate of his and was like a "little brother to everyone on the Fullerton baseball team," according to Suzuki.

Currently, Wilhite is undergoing speech, physical, and occupational therapy in a rehabilitation facility in Southern California.


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