Professional athletes are quite often the target of criticism. It’s less often that you hear about the good things they do. To be sure, some get lost in the hoopla of fame and big contracts. But a special few never lose their roots.
We’re fortunate to have one of those here in Metro Albany — Leesburg’s Buster Posey.
Posey’s been with the San Francisco Giants for three seasons now, plus a cup of coffee in September before his rookie year. With the devastating injury he sustained on his sophomore campaign, he’s played the equivalent of about two seasons in the majors.
In that time, he’s won enough awards to fill the trophy cabinet of a 20-year veteran — rookie of the year, two World Series rings, Silver Slugger, comeback player of the year and the top honor for an N.L. player — National League Most Valuable Player.
With all that going on, it’d be easy to forget about the folks back home. But that’s not the case with Posey. He was in Leesburg at a charity fundraiser for his mother’s school when he got word last month that he was MVP.
What he did with the prize that comes with being the top player in the league was impressive. Louisville Slugger gives the winning player a choice — $10,000 in cash or equipment.
Posey opted for the equipment. And he’s giving it to Lee County High School’s baseball program, the one he moved up through on his way to Florida State, the minor leagues and, finally, The Show.
His former coach, Rob Williams, was appreciative.
“He’s done things for us before — like given the program money for our summer camp while he was in the minors to buy equipment or sent us cases of bats from spring training once he got called up — but I couldn’t believe it when he told me to get out my Louisville Slugger catalogue and get whatever I needed,” Williams told The Herald last week. “I thanked him and told him how much we all appreciated it because $10,000 not only buys a lot of the need-to-haves, but it also gets us a few of the would-like-to-have items.”
For Posey, it’s simply another example of the care and generosity he has shown.
“(Helping out) when I can is something, honestly, I think about a lot,” Posey said last week in an interview with The Herald. “It’s such a great baseball program and setting, and it was so good to me, that I want to make sure the future guys who come through there have the same experience or better.”
Posey’s proof that nice guys do finish first. He’s at the top of his game but, more importantly, he’s proving to be an excellent role model. And that’s a rare combination.