When I think back on the reasons behind Jason Heyward’s (franchise) record-setting contract with the Chicago Cubs in 2016, I remember most the stories of his uniquely robust skillset: Jason Heyward has stolen 20+ bases three times. Jason Heyward has hit nearly 100 homers. Jason Heyward has already taken home 3 Gold Glove awards. He can do it all, and with upside remaining.
But too often lost in that story are reminders of his work ethic, his leadership, his resolve, his personality, his generosity – the sort of things that we, as fans, don’t always see on a day-to-day basis. The sort of qualities that could understandably evaporate, as a player faces the toughest performative challenges of his career immediately after signing a massive deal with a new team in a new city. But for Heyward, they never have.
He has never once let his performance change the kind of person he is, and for that, I’m both proud and thankful he’s wearing a Cubs uniform:
Cubs' Jason Heyward is donating $100,000 to help reduce hardships experienced by healthcare workers and increase contact tracing efforts on the South Side.
In March, he donated $200,000 to MASK Chicago and the Greater Chicago Food Depository.https://t.co/SQyreSXQ3A
— Chicago Tribune Sports (@ChicagoSports) June 30, 2020
If you recall, Heyward donated $200,000 to help support Chicago families affected by COVID-19 back in March, and he’s at it again today, with another $100,000 in donations to University of Chicago Medicine.
According to the Tribune, half of the donation will go towards support for healthcare workers, including childcare, eldercare, transportation, and temporary housing, while the other half will help contact tracing on the South Side of Chicago, where our fellow Chicagoans have been disproportionately affected by the virus.
As far as I’m concerned, there is no type of un-welcomed donation, but I love to see money going towards practical, immediately-impactful solutions like this.
“Jason’s gift will help us provide needed care to people disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” said Brenda Battle, vice president of UC Medicine’s Urban Health Initiative and chief diversity and inclusion officer. “This support is critical to our efforts to prevent further spread in the community.”
I know Jason Heyward has struggled offensively far more than we could have ever anticipated during his time in Chicago, but I couldn’t be happier to have him on the Cubs. In so many ways, he’s the perfect teammate and ambassador for this city, and I wish more big leaguers were like him.
And, hey, he has improved at the plate every year he’s been a Cub, including his first above average offensive performance in 2019 (101 wRC+).