In our fantasy world, we focus on those minor leaguers in the spotlight – the ones who received the big signing bonuses and appear to have major league futures in front of them.
Most of the young men anonymously toiling in the minors have a much less glamorous time, often making less than $10,000 per year – considerably below poverty level. That does not mean they still don’t have a lot to give back to others, though.
Vance Albitz is clearly among this silent majority.
18 months ago, the infielder was chasing his baseball dream in Lincoln, Nebraska. He played for the Saltdogs of the independent American Association before his contract was purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals organization.
In his first full season in affiliated ball, Albitz was a jack of all trades, moving from level to level as a need surfaced. The 24-year-old finished the 2012 season with Springfield of the Double-A Texas League.
While Albitz may never reach the majors, he wants to make a major impact on a much more important field.
The California native was recently speaking with a member of our armed forces deployed overseas. Anxious to help, Albitz learned that gloves and baseballs are needed for recreation purposes by our troops defending our freedom far away from home.He decided to take action on his own, starting a grass-roots initiative he calls “Gloves 4 Troops.”
The concept is simple. Albitz collects whatever people can donate – gloves and baseballs as well as cash to cover the overseas shipping costs for the equipment.
Setting goals is common among athletes and Albitz is no exception. His off-season target is the collection and distribution of 1,000 gloves between now and spring training.
During this annual time of giving, consider joining me in making a donation to “Gloves 4 Troops.” You will be glad you did and so will some lucky servicemen and women.
Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 14-year history. Though he is the only one to remember or care, he also finished second in each of the two subsequent seasons. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com and thecardinalnationblog.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.