Back in 2013, a four year old girl from Anchorage, Alaska, told Make-A-Wish that she wanted to meet Felix Hernandez more than anything.
Sophia Robinson was being treated for a life-threatening heart condition, and at her young age she had already undergone several medical procedures, including open heart surgery.
Thanks to Make-A-Wish of Alaska and Washington, Sophia, her parents and sister, made the trip to Seattle and spent a day with Felix at Safeco Field, hanging out in the clubhouse, eating corndogs in the players’ private dining room, and playing in the dirt.
It was a perfect summer day, and the connection between Sophia and Felix was immediate and long-lasting. Since then, the two text each other regularly and Felix has flown the family from Alaska to Seattle to renew their friendship.
Last week, at the Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington Wish Night Gala & Auction, Felix and Sophia’s friendship was highlighted in a video. The gala, by the way, raised $1.6 million to help grant wishes to children in Washington and Alaska throughout 2014.
Mariners All-Star third baseman Kyle Seager is involved in a unique online pledge campaign to benefit pediatric cancer research. He’s working with Vs. Cancer. People can go online and pledge an amount for every hit Kyle gets this season.
Join Seager as he steps up to the plate vs. childhood cancer this spring! By pledging a donation towards every hit that he records during the 2015 season, you can help the Seagers support the Vs. Cancer Foundation.
The Seagers are matching the first 100 people to pledge, doubling the effort to help kids beat cancer in Seattle and across the country!
You can learn more about the Seager’s quest to help cure childhood cancer by visiting Seagervscancer.org.
Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs and a crew of volunteers for two dozen non-profits got to play Santa Claus for needy kids in the Puget Sound area at the annual Toys For Kids holiday shopping spree.
Carts were piled high with Legos, stuffed animals and all-things “Frozen” at the Bellevue Toys R Us. Each item will be wrapped and presented to a child who otherwise might not have a very happy holiday. This is all thanks to the efforts of Rizzs, former Mariners outfielder Dave Henderson, volunteers from the Mariners RBI Club and generous donors.
Toys For Kids was founded by Rizzs and Henderson, and a handful of Hendu’s teammates back in 1995. They raised a few thousand dollars and bought toys for around 500 children. Since then, the program has grown and this year, they raised $245,000 and will buy gifts for 8,000 kids.
The first of several distribution events is this weekend in conjunction with Harborview Medical Center. There are 22 organizations participating in the Toys For Kids program this year including Country Doctor, First Place, Atlantic Street Center, Broadview Women’s Shelter, YWCA Seattle Emergency Housing, Seattle Children’s Home and Ronald McDonald House.
Refuse To Abuse®, the Mariners long-standing domestic violence prevention program, was recognized today by Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig with the Commissioner’s Award for Philanthropic Excellence.
The award was created in 2010 to recognize the charitable and philanthropic efforts of MLB Clubs. In singling out the Mariners and Refuse To Abuse, the Commissioner said, “I am very proud of the Seattle Mariners and Mariners Care for taking a leading role in educating fans and other members of their community on the importance of respectful relationships. This is a vital societal issue that impacts the lives of individuals and families in harrowing ways. Having communicated with many experts, we continue to work diligently toward a comprehensive policy that reflects the gravity of domestic violence and how to best serve the interests of victims and their families. The efforts of the Mariners, who encourage fans to take a public stance against domestic violence, are exemplary. I thank the Mariners and all of our Clubs for their year-round efforts to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”
Refuse To Abuse is a statewide educational program in partnership with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. It takes its name from the Refuse to Lose mantra of Mariners fans after the 1995 season. The program was launched in 1997 to promote healthy relationships and take a public stand against domestic violence.
Refuse To Abuse features Mariners players as role models, educating the community about available help and promoting respectful relationships to children and teenagers. Refuse To Abuse includes television, radio and print ads that deliver messages of respect and communicate that there is no excuse for domestic violence. The Mariners also sponsor a 5K run/walk at Safeco Field that raises money for WSCADV’s violence prevention efforts.
A sold-out crowd of over 300 supporters gathered on Saturday Night, Nov. 15 at the Bellevue Hyatt in support of Toys for Kids at their annual dinner and auction.
Toys for Kids, founded by longtime Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs and former Mariners player and broadcaster Dave Henderson in 1995, is a 501(c)3 charity dedicated to giving homeless, underserved, and ill children Hope and Joy in the holiday season by making sure each child has a toy to open.
“Thanks to our sponsors, including the Mariners, the RBI Club and the 180 Foundation, among others, and to our dedicated volunteers and auction chair Heather Jones, and all of our great supporters here tonight we will be able to assist over 22 agencies and over 8,000 homeless, underserved and hospital bound children this year with new toys,” Rizzs said following the auction.
“It is really a remarkable outpouring of compassion for kids at the holiday season.”
The spirited crowd included former Mariners players Dave Henderson, Dave Valle, Bill Krueger, Matt Sinatro and others, as well as the Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln, President Kevin Mather and General Manager Jack Zduriencik, and a large group of Mariners front office staff. In addition ROOT Sports Brad Adam, who assisted with the silent auction, and a table full of ROOT Sports staff generously participated.
As a part of the dinner program, Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders was presented with the 2014 Al “Moose” Clausen Community Service Award. The award is presented to a member of the Seattle Mariners organization (active or retired) who have made significant contributions to the community.
Since becoming a Mariner, Saunders has been involved with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Major League Baseball’s “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” initiative. Saunders also spends time during the offseason on the Mariners Caravan talking with elementary school students about education and staying drug-free and visiting children at Boys & Girls Clubs. This year, Saunders joined Felix Hernandez and manager Lloyd McClendon as spokesmen for the Refuse To Abuse® anti-domestic violence public service campaign. The campaign is part of the 17-year partnership between the Mariners and the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Saunders was joined at the event by teammate Charlie Furbush and the two pledged to take the winning bidders of the visit to Spring Training to dinner in Arizona, in addition to happily posing for pictures, signing autographs and generously bidding.
It was a great night, but it is not too late to help. If you are interested, there is more information at http://www.rickstoysforkids.org/
The Toys for Kids motto is as simple as it is powerful: We make young people smile. We fill them with joy. We give them hope. We show them love.
Special thanks to Rick Takagi Photography for the great photographs.
MLB’s end-of-season awards are in full swing and Mariners players have been featured among the finalists and winners.
Players Choice Awards, which are voted on by the players themselves, were given out tonight on the MLB Network. Felix Hernandez received the American League Outstanding Pitcher and Chris Young was named American League Comeback Player. (Chis was also named the Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year two weeks ago.)
In honor of each winner, the Major League Baseball Players Trust donates grants to the charity of the player’s choice. Felix has chosen Make-A-Wish® Alaska & Washington as the recipient of his $20,000 grant, and Young has designated DonorsChoose.org as beneficiary of his $20,000 donation.
Since arriving in Seattle, Felix has reached out to numerous kids with life-threatening medical conditions in an effort to help bring hope and joy to each child. He has visited hundreds of children at local hospitals and has granted wishes and entertained kids from the Make-A-Wish on numerous occasions. He also helps Make-A-Wish fundraising events and has donated countless autographed items over the years.
Young’s award will benefit Seattle projects listed on DonorsChoose.org, an online crowd-funding model that teachers use to pay for supplies, technology or experiences they want their students to have. (Sort of like Kickstarter for small, classroom-based projects.) Chris and his wife Liz are longtime supporters of education and have themselves made several donations to worthy projects through DonorsChoose.org.
In honor of Felix and Chris, the Mariners will make donations to Make-A-Wish and DonorsChoose.org in their names.
The Seattle Mariners RBI Club has conferred its top community service award on Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders. The 2014 Al “Moose” Clausen Community Service Award will be presented to Saunders on November 15, at the RBI Club’s annual Toys for Kids fundraiser at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency Grand Ballroom. The RBI Club is an organization of Mariners season ticketholders who are active in the community.
The Moose Clausen Award is given to a member of the Mariners organization (active or retired) for significant contributions to the community. This year’s award is being presented to Saunders in recognition of his community service to the Seattle area.
Saunders’ life has been touched by cancer and his community involvement reflects that personal connection. Saunders’ mother died in 2011 at the age of 50 after a 13-year fight with cancer. Each season, Saunders is involved with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Major League Baseball’s “Going To Bat Against Breast Cancer” initiative. Saunders also spends time during the offseason on the Mariners Caravan talking with elementary school students about education and staying drug-free and visiting children at Boys & Girls Clubs.
This year, Saunders joined Felix Hernandez and manager Lloyd McClendon as spokesmen for the Refuse To Abuse® anti-domestic violence public service campaign. The campaign is part of the 17-year partnership between the Mariners and the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The RBI Community Service Award is named for Al “Moose” Clausen who is a Seattle born and raised baseball fanatic. During his years at Ballard High School, Clausen’s baseball coaches nicknamed him “Moose.” The name stuck, and he has been fondly called Moose ever since.
In 1982, Clausen joined the Mariners Front Office as Director of Sales and was part of the Mariners family until he retired in 2012. Due to his decades of service with Northwest baseball and the community, the RBI Club and Seattle Mariners named their Community Service Award for Moose in 2001.
Previous Moose Clausen Award Winners are:
2001 Jamie Moyer
2002 Dan Wilson
2003 Edgar Martinez
2004 Jay Buhner
2005 Rick Rizzs/David Henderson
2006 Raul Ibanez
2007 Dave Valle
2008 John Olerud
2009 Howard Lincoln
2010 Bill Krueger
2011 Julio Cruz
2012 Jack Zduriencik
2013 Eric & Kate Wedge
The slogan for the Mariners non-profit foundation Mariners Care is “a side of Mariners Baseball you don’t always see.” And it’s true. The foundation and our corporate partners are involved in fundraising efforts each year, some more visible than others, with all the proceeds going to support primarily youth-oriented community service programs across the Northwest.
This year, the total for all Mariners Care activities was over $1 million. When you add that to the efforts since 2000, Mariners care has generated over $15.8 million to help a variety of charitable programs, everything from Seattle Children’s Hospital to the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
We also owe you, the fans, many thanks, because you helped make it happen with your bids on silent auctions of memorabilia at Saturday home games, your entry fees to play at the annual Cystic Fibrosis Golf Tournament and your donations of new and used baseball and softball equipment to the Baseball Tomorrow Fund.
In 2014, the Mariners Care activities also include the All-Star Celebrity Softball Classic that raised over $1 million to benefit services for homeless youth in King County. The game was staged by United Way of King County and the Seattle Mariners, with teams captained by Mariners Hall of Famers Dan Wilson and Jay Buhner.
Mariners Chair and CEO Howard Lincoln has set the bar high for the organization to make a positive and lasting impact on our community. For the last three years, the Mariners Front Office has reached 100% participation in the United Way giving campaign, and every Mariners player participates in and supports various community programs and causes from hospital visits to speaking with elementary school kids.
“It’s a side of Mariners Baseball you don’t always see.”
2014 Mariners Care Highlights
All-Star Celebrity Softball Classic for Homeless Youth
On June 21, the Mariners and United Way held a celebrity softball game at Safeco Field to benefit homeless youth in King County. Mariners Hall of Famers Dan Wilson and Jay Buhner served as team captains. The second annual event raised $1,000,000.
Cystic Fibrosis Mariners Care Golf Tournament
Over $200,000 was raised for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at the 29th annual golf tournament and auction held on June 26 at The Golf Club at Newcastle.
Toys for Kids Dinner and Auction
Rick Rizzs, Dave Henderson, and the Seattle Mariners RBI Club held the 13th annual dinner and auction to benefit Puget Sound area charities serving disadvantaged children and families. The event raised over $200,000.
Refuse To Abuse 5k Run/Walk at Safeco Field
The third annual Refuse To Abuse® 5k Run/Walk, held on July 19 at Safeco Field, raised $107,000 for the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Refuse To Abuse® campaign.
Mariners Care Silent Auctions
Held each Saturday home game at Safeco Field, silent auctions of autographed and game-used memorabilia raised $82,591 for Mariners Care. Since the Silent Auctions started in 2000, they have now brought in a total of $1.27 million for Mariners Care.
PACCAR RBI for Literacy
For every Mariners RBI during the 2014 season, PACCAR made a donation to the Page Ahead Children’s Literacy Program. The 2014 program raised $75,000.
Sharebuilder Saves for Kids
For every save recorded by a Mariners pitcher in 2014, Sharebuilder donated $1,000 to Seattle Children’s. The Mariners had 51 saves for a total donation of $51,000.
Seattle Mariners “Groundskeeper for a Day” Fundraising Program
This season, $43,918 was raised for Pacific Northwest charities through the “Groundskeeper for a Day” donations offered at various auctions.
ROOT SPORTS – Mariners TeleAuction
ROOT SPORTS and the Mariners teamed up to host an on-line TeleAuction during the June 24 telecast to raise funds for Mariners Care. The fifth year event raised $40,000.
Charity Auction Ticket Donations
In 2014, the Mariners contributed $39,730 in tickets for charity fundraisers throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Alaska Airlines Home Runs for Wishes
Alaska Airlines donated 10,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles for every Mariners home run and 40,000 miles for every Mariners grand slam to Make-A-Wish of Alaska and Washington. In 2014, 1,000,000 miles, valued at $27,400, were donated to Make-A-Wish.
Holland America Line K’s for Kids
For every Mariners strikeout recorded by a Mariners pitcher, Holland America Line made a donation to the Seattle Children’s Hospital Uncompensated Care Fund. The 2014 program raised $25,000.
Baseball Tomorrow Fund Equipment Drive
On July 28, Mariners fans and The Baseball Tomorrow Fund teamed up to collect new and gently used baseball and softball equipment to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County. The equipment and cash donations totaled $16,000.
Mariners Wives Mystery Bag Fundraiser
Selling mystery bags of baseballs autographed by Mariners players and manager raised $16,000 for Mariners Care, the Seattle Mariners non-profit foundation.
Mariners Wives Favorite Things Auction
A silent auction of baskets filled with the favorite things of Mariners players raised $16,000 to benefit
Mariners Care, the Seattle Mariners non-profit foundation.
Mariners Care Speed Pitch
Located on the Main Concourse in Center Field, all proceeds from the interactive fan game are donated to the Mariners Care Foundation. The season ending total is $12,150.
Mariners Hall of Fame Luncheon
The 2014 Mariners Hall of Fame Luncheon honoring Lou Piniella, held on August 8, raised over $11,000 for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center through a silent auction and table centerpiece sales.
Baseball Tomorrow Fund Field Maintenance Clinic
The Mariners Grounds Crew and the Baseball Tomorrow Fund teamed up to present a Field Maintenance Clinic where a $10,000 grant was presented to the City of Darrington to help with the renovation of their baseball field.
Jackie Robinson Scholarship
Mariners Care, The Evergreen State College, and Seattle Central Community College teamed up for the thirteenth annual Jackie Robinson Scholarship Night. Three scholarships were awarded for a total of $8,148.
Mariners Care Garage Sales
Mariners Care Garage Sales held at FanFest and two select 2014 home games, which featured memorabilia from current and past seasons, raised $7,786 for Mariners Care.
The Martinez Foundation Silent Auction
On June 13, the Mariners hosted a silent auction at Safeco Field to benefit The Martinez Foundation which provides underserved populations with educational opportunities. The auction raised $6,340.
Fight Hunger Presented by News Talk 97.3 KIRO FM and Mariners Care
This annual food drive collected $6,300 in cash donations and 200 pounds of food for Northwest Harvest.
Coors Banquet Double Plays for the Wildland Firefighters Foundation
Coors Banquet donated $100 for every double play turned by the Mariners in July and August to the Wildland Firefighters Foundation. The program raised $4,200 to support firefighters and their families.
Mariner Moose Auction Donations
More than $600 has been raised this season for Pacific Northwest charities through Mariner Moose party donations offered at various auctions.
Felix Hernandez has been nominated by the Seattle Mariners for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, Major League Baseball’s tribute to the Hall of Famer who died in 1972 delivering relief supplies to earth quake victims.
Felix is noted for his work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Alaska and Washington. Ove the years, he has helped fulfill the wishes of dozens of children and he helps with fundraising efforts.
Felix is also one of the faces of the Mariners unique anti-domestic violence campaign know as Refuse To Abuse®. Along with Michael Saunders and Lloyd McClendon, Felix appears in in television, radio and print public service announcements that emphasize the message of “choose respect” and prevent violence in intimate relationships. The campaign is part of the Mariners 18-year partnership with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
This spring, Felix partnered with Grammy Award-winning Seattle recording artist Macklemore on the #Change the Game anti-bullying campaign that asks students to “be kind, stay positive and support each other,” and to sign an anti-bullying pledge.
Felix is a dog lover and lends his support to the Humane Society of Seattle/King County, a non-profit animal welfare organization. He participated in a public service campaign and has supported fundraising events that assist the variety of Humane Society programs including adoptions, veterinary services, dog training.
Felix is one of the 30 Club finalists for the annual Award. Tomorrow marks the 13th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente’s legacy and to officially recognize local Club nominees.
The Mariners have produced three Clemente Award winners: Harold Reynolds in 1991, Jamie Moyer in 2003 and Edgar Martinez in 2004.
Beginning tomorrow, fans are encouraged to participate in the process of selecting the national Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. Log onto ChevyBaseball.com to vote for one of the 30 Club nominees. Voting ends on Sunday, October 6, and participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2014 World Series, where the national winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet will be announced.
The winner of the fan vote will receive one vote among those cast by the selection panel which includes Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig; MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred; MLB Goodwill Ambassador and wife of Roberto Clemente, Vera Clemente; and representatives from Chevrolet, MLB Network, MLB.com, ESPN, FOX Sports and TBS, among others.
The Mariners invite you to join the family of baseball in Standing Up 2 Cancer tonight and watch their telethon on MLB Network at 5 pm PT/8 pm ET.
There will be a special video tribute tonight during the telecast and a moment honoring the Commissioner and Club owners for their unprecedented support of this very important cause.