Spring 2021 Magazine

Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright, wife Jenny donate $250,000 to help minor leaguers

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the economy. Many people have lost their jobs or are uncertain when they’ll be able to return to work, scrambling to find side jobs in the meantime.

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Such is the fate for Minor League Baseball players who on March 13 saw their spring training suspended with no timetable for when baseball activities would resume. Unlike major leaguers, minor league players don’t get paid for spring training and would have to wait until April 9 for games to start and checks to come in.

With baseball on hold indefinitely, many don’t know when or where their next check is coming from. St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright is helping change that.

Wainwright and his wife, Jenny, donated $250,000 to More Than Baseball, a nonprofit 501(c)(3), for financial assistance to Cardinals minor league players. MTB is a program aimed at evaluating financial need and raising money to help minor leaguers make it through difficult financial situations.

“The generosity shown by the Wainwrights during this time of uncertainty is exemplary,” said John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations for the Cardinals, in a statement. “We are grateful for their contribution to those in need.”

Simon Rosenblum-Larson, president and director of player personnel at More Than Baseball and a current minor league player with the Tampa Bay Rays organization, said this donation will help players feel “a little more stable” during this national crisis.

“Every dollar is going to go to players who really need help,” he said. “We’re proud to be a resource for major league players looking to assist those chasing their MLB dream.”

According to MTB, before the season was suspended, minor league players were set to make between $1,170-$1,650 per month for five months.

MTB wrote in a press release that minor leaguers risk not being able to comply with state or local “shelter-in-place” orders to hold jobs and make money. MTB and MLB, along with other organizations, worked together to form a plan to provide a guaranteed $400 a week for minor league players until April 9, and are working on a plan that extends past that, as it could be months before the baseball season begins.

MTB said the Wainwrights’ donation, which came through the National Christian Foundation, will help Cardinals players eat healthy, train properly and focus on their health and development as athletes.

“More Than Baseball commends the Wainwright family’s generosity and understanding of the difficulties faced by minor leaguers on their road to ‘The Show,’” MTB said.

Wainwright’s career has been marked by success on the field and philanthropy off of it. In 2013, he started a nonprofit called Big League Impact that brings athletes and fans together to raise money for charities through contests they enjoy. “Whether it is Fantasy Football, March Madness, singing karaoke, or e-sports, BLI brings athletes, celebrities and fans together in a spirit of competitiveness and giving,” says the BLI website. It has raised $3.1 million and supported 45 different charities.

This season, Wainwright invited fans to read through the Bible in a year with him, and that study has more than 21,000 people signed up.

On Thursday, he joined in on a Fellowship of Christian Athletes video chat with former NFL players Benjamin Watson and Luke McCown, and current L.A. Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Wainwright spoke about wanting to be a “light” for people.

“As Christians we’re called to be the light,” he said. “As believers, when we let Jesus completely infiltrate our body and the Holy Spirit just takes over, we become that light for the world to see. What they’re actually seeing is not us. They’re actually seeing Jesus. In this time where there’s a lot of negativity around, I feel like this is a great time that we can spend encouraging others to make us look different.”

Those interested in donating to More Than Baseball to help minor leaguers can visit this page.

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