Shin-soo Choo, Texas Rangers’ outfielder and designated hitter, is donating $1,000 to about 190 minor league players as the MLB shuts down games amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
After hearing about the indefinite shut down of MLB about two weeks ago, the 37-year-old professional baseball player took it upon himself to help out minor league players under the Texas Rangers, according to Dallas News.
“I will never forget the minor leagues,” Choo said in a conference call. “I will never forget having to make that decision. Every day, I had to make a schedule of meals. I had to plan things out. I don’t want players to have to do the same thing. I don’t want them to have to worry about these kinds of things. People are really having a tough time. I can help. I can help people because of baseball and I want to give back.”
MLB owners announced their plans earlier this week to pay minor league players $400 weekly through May, brings the total to $3,200 per player per organization.
However, there are no guarantees that the money will extend beyond the end of May, Sports Illustrated reported.
Minor league player Eli White thanked Choo for his financial help during the shutdown, as shown in a screenshot of text messages Naver Sports cited via Sports Illustrated.
“Hey, Choo, this is Eli. Thanks for helping me out with the per diem checks. It is going to help my wife and I out a lot.”
“Eli don’t worry about money. Just keep playing baseball. Let me know if you need something more,” Choo replied.
Choo also inspired other minor league players to follow in his footsteps.
“It’s amazing, but not surprising,” Scott Engler, a player staying in the Rangers dorm, said. “This is just what he does. It doesn’t matter if it is $1,000 or $50, he is thinking of guys. Anything right now helps. I’ve had a chance to talk with him a couple of times and I’m sure he doesn’t know who I am, but he’s been helpful and caring. Guys just gain more and more respect for who he is. When I get [to the majors], I want to reciprocate what he’s doing.”
Choo also made donations to the Community Chest of Korea designated to Daegu, the city hit hardest by the COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea.
“It’s time for us all to come together,” Choo said. “We have to do that to get through the hard times.”
Choo, who used to play for Cleveland, Cincinnati and Seattle, is set to make $21 million in his final year of a seven-year $130 million contract with the Rangers this year.
Feature Image via Crg34275