Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield delivered a touching keynote address at the Hutch Award Luncheon on Thursday, January 29, 2015 at Seattle's Safeco Field. The Hutch Award is presented each year to the Major League Baseball player that best epitomizes the spirit of Fred Hutchinson, the courageous and inspirational MLB player and manager who tragically passed away at the age of 45. This year's award was presented to Kansas City Royal's outfielder, Alex Gordon.
During his speech, Winfield discussed his career and the motivation for his amazing acts of charity off the field. After he graduated from college and signed with the San Diego Padres he started a scholarship fund for minority athletes who do well academically, athletically and in the community. Although his paycheck was not as high as athletes today, he felt it was important to provide an avenue for deserving athletes to go to college, even when they could not afford it.
In addition to starting the fund, which is now in it's 38th year, he also began purchasing huge blogs of tickets for fans who could not afford to attend the game.
"There was no precedent and many people said, 'What are you doing? What's the angle?' said Winfield. "And the angle was that I was appreciative of what people did for me. I couldn't have made it by myself."
Winfield's charitable acts eventually led to the formation of the David M. Winfield Foundation, which has provided health care services, nutritional counseling, educational scholarships, holiday meals and hope to underprivileged families for decades.
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Watch Dave Winfield Speaking about his Years with the Yankees: