Each year, the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity presents the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award to the Major League Baseball Player who best exemplifies the spirit and character of Brother Lou Gehrig, both on and off the field. This award is the first and only “officially” sanctioned Major League Baseball award given to ballplayers by a fraternity. Lou Gehrig was a distinguished member of Phi Delta Theta and a man of integrity. The award was created to acknowledge an individual player’s outstanding commitment to both his community and philanthropy. Since the award’s inception in 1955, the name of each recipient has been placed on the permanent Gehrig Award plaque, located at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.
Meet this year’s finalists!
ADAM JONES – Outfielder – Baltimore Orioles
Nominated by Baltimore Alumni Club
Age: 30 – MLB Service: 14 Years – Born: San Diego, CA
Off the Field: Adam Jones spent time as a youth at the Jackie Robinson YMCA in San Diego. Those influential years motivated Jones to partner with the Y of Central Maryland in 2012. In 2013, Jones became the Honorary Chairman of the Y of Central Maryland’s Send a Child to Camp campaign, in which he helped the organization raise funds to give disadvantaged youth the opportunity to enjoy safe, fun and educational summer camp experiences. In 2014, the Orioles made a nearly $45,000 donation to the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Baltimore to remodel the club’s Teen Center. Jones also hosted the #StayHungry tailgate at the Baltimore Ravens-Tennessee Titans game. Proceeds went to the Boys & Girls Club. About the value of the Boys and Girls Club, he says “It’s a safe haven. These kids can be around their friends. Clubs like this are always needed, so I’m glad I was able to improve this one.”
On the Field: Adam Jones has played in 1,242 games, has 196 home runs, 659 RBIs and 1,316 hits. In 2015, Jones was elected to his fifth All-Star Game, his fourth in a row. He is a four-time Gold Glove Award winner and a Silver Slugger Award winner.
CURTIS GRANDERSON – Outfielder – New York Mets
Nominated by New York Mets
Age: 35 – MLB Service: 11 Years – Born: Blue Island, IL
Off the Field: In 2007, Curtis Granderson founded the Grand Kids Foundation, an organization built to inspire and encourage positive youth development via education, physical fitness and nutrition. During the 2015 season, the foundation worked with the YMCA to host a clinic during Spring Training, sponsoring a winter youth clinic as well as the inaugural Grand Kids Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” Creative Expressions Competition in partnership with Abraham Lincoln High School, in which 2,500 students submitted an essay, poem or artwork honored Dr. King by exemplifying their “dream.” Each year, Granderson hosts a number of annual community programs in New York, Detroit, Port St. Lucie and Chicago, including school visits in which he speaks about the value of education.
Curtis Granderson Stadium, is located at the University of Illinois at Chicago, his alma mater. Granderson personally donated $5 million to develop the state-of-the art facility which supports inner city youth, the largest known one-time donation by a professional athlete. The stadium is home to the university, and 38 local little leagues. In total, 10,000 inner-city kids use the stadium year-round.
Granderson was named among the finalists for the 2015 Roberto Clemente Award. In 2009, Granderson was honored with the Marvin Miller Award for his work on and off the field and was also honored with the 2009 Jefferson Award for Public Service from All-Stars Helping Kids. He has been nominated twice for the Branch Rickey Award to recognize professionals in MLB for exceptional community service and has acted as the official spokesman for the White House’s anti-obesity campaign, working with First Lady Michelle Obama. He also serves as a captain for MLBPA Action Teams, which works with Volunteers of America to encourage youth to volunteer within their communities.
On the Field: Granderson’s accomplishments on the baseball diamond this season were equally impressive. A three-time All-Star and 2011 Silver Slugger Award Winner, Granderson served as a key member of the 2015 National League Champions Mets, finishing the regular season with 26 home runs, a career-high 91 walks and a team-high .364 on-base percentage. His performance during the 2015 season placed him 181 overall in National League MVP voting. Granderson’s dominance continued in the postseason, where he started in all 14 of the Mets’ postseason games, hitting .283 (15-53) with three home runs, 12 RBI and nine walks. Over the course of his 12-year major league career, Granderson has amassed a .341 career on-base percentage, with 263 home runs, 742 RBI and 684 walks.
JEREMY AFFELDT – Pitcher – San Francisco Giants
Nominated by San Francisco Giants
Age: 36 – MLB Service: Retired (2015) – Born: Phoenix, AZ
Off the Field: In 2005, Affeldt and his wife Marisa founded Generation Alive, a charitable organization that promotes developing a generation of young leaders committed to serving the needs of those living in local poverty. Generation Alive has been awarded a $10,000 grant by AT&T and the 2014 Community All-Star dinner to promote projects to cease hunger, work with orphans, fund clean water initiatives, and abolish child slavery across the globe.
Affeldt is a prominent member of Not for Sale’s Free2Play campaign, an organization that assists young adults who have escaped the world of human trafficking and slavery. For every strikeout he makes on the field, Affeldt donates $100 to go toward this campaign. In 2009, Affeldt was also recognized for his anti-slavery efforts by a nomination for the Jefferson Award for Public Service.
Affeldt is personally involved with Larkin Street Youth Services, an organization that works to house, educate and employ homeless and at-risk young people. He has raised over $5,000 for the organization in partnership with Peets Coffee, and helped record the public service announcement about Larkin to spread overall awareness.
Affeldt was nominated for the Major League Baseball Roberto Clemente Award in 2011 and 2012. He supports numerous community initiatives for the Giants Community Fund, such as funding the Take Me Out to the Ballgame program, which provides deserving bay area nonprofit agencies and community groups with the opportunity to obtain complimentary tickets to a Giants home game. He was awarded with an honorary degree from Whitworth University recognizing his extraordinary work as an advocate for social justice, and continues to be a major leader in the community for these efforts.
On the Field: Affeldt was a third-round draft pick by the Kansas City Royals in 1997. He made the team in 2002 and started part of the year for them. In five seasons with the Royals, Affeldt bounced back and forth between the starting rotation and the bullpen. In 2006, he was traded to the Colorado Rockies at the trade deadline, and was a member of the Rockies 2007 World Series team. After one season with the Cincinnati Reds, he signed with the San Francisco Giants in 2009, where he was a member of the 2010, 2012 and 2014 World Series championship teams. Following the 2015 season, Jeremy retired from baseball.
DAVID PRICE – Pitcher – Boston Red Sox
Nominated by Tampa Bay Rays (2013)
Age: 30 – MLB Service: 8 Years – Born: Murfreesboro, TN
Off the Field: In 2008, Price founded Project One Four to support programs and charities in Tampa Bay and his hometown Nashville, Tennessee that provide opportunities for youth to learn life skills in a safe and supportive environment. Price holds an annual golf tournament, bowling event, and banquet to raise funds for local organizations. Last year Project One Four donated backpacks, school supplies, and laptops to local children in need. He also made monetary donations to various Boys and Girls Club locations totaling more than $26,000. The recent bowling tournament benefited Big Brothers Big Sisters. Through his Twitter account, Price recruited bowlers, met with each and raised over $10,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters. He also participated in a PSA for the BBBS Sports Buddies Program (an activity-based mentoring program aimed to increase male involvement in BBBS programming).
The Rays launched the South St. Petersburg Neighborhood Initiative in response to the tragic shooting of 8-year-old Paris Whitehead in South St. Petersburg. As a part of this program Price helped create the Dugout Club program and has since recruited several other players to expand the program. He sponsors two recreation centers in South St. Petersburg each summer and serves as a role model, teaching the kids about staying healthy, positive, involved and smart. Price visits his clubs twice throughout the summer to address the youngsters about making positive choices and working hard. He also provides t-shirts to the centers and presents them with a $2,000 check to the “angel fund” to help with additional expenses. Price and the other players recently hosted the 1,000-plus Dugout Club children at a Rays game. He has volunteered with the Miracle League (which arranges “buddies” for kids with disabilities to give them the opportunity to play baseball outdoors in a safe, fun-filled environment) and has donated approximately $10,000 in funding.
Price partnered with the Ted Williams Museum to host “An Evening with David Price” at Tropicana Field. More than $20,000 was raised for the City of Largo’s Youth Sports Participation Scholar Fund, Burg Baseball, a youth baseball program in St. Petersburg and the Miracle League of St. Petersburg.
On the Field: Price was selected first overall in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays and made his MLB debut in September 2008. He has also played for the Detroit Tigers and the Toronto Blue Jays. Price pitched out of the bullpen during the Rays run through the 2008 playoffs. Just weeks after his first appearance in the big leagues, he earned a memorable save in Game 7 of the ALCS, helping his club reach their first World Series. Price became a full-time starting pitcher in 2009. In his second full season, he was named the American League starter for the 2010 All-Star Game and finished second in the voting for the 2010 Cy Young Award. He won his first Cy Young Award in 2012 after a tight race. The Rays traded Price to the Tigers during the 2014 season. When the Tigers fell out of the postseason race in 2015, they traded him to the Blue Jays, who won their division and advanced to the ALCS. That following off-season, the Boston Red Sox signed Price to a seven-year, $217 million contract.