Postseason awards typically honor achievements on the field, but in 2011, Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc., a subsidiary of Jarden Corporation, established the Rawlings Heart of Gold Award to honor the altruistic, off-the-field efforts of the game’s greatest ambassadors.
While the recent dark shadow cast over the entire sports industry may portray athletes in a collectively negative light, the overwhelming majority of athletes unselfishly give back in so many ways.
“Professional athletes understand that they live under constant scrutiny for their actions whether on- or off-the-field,” said Robert Parish, President & General Manager of St. Louis-based Rawlings. “Professional athletes bring joy to fans both on the field as well as off-the-field with their passionate dedication, tireless work, and uncompromising commitment to enhance our communities. This drive to lead by example serves as the cornerstone as to why we first established the Rawlings Heart of Gold Award.”
The 2014 recipient of Rawlings highest honor for players who demonstrate personal accountability and ethical leadership in every aspect of their lives will be announced at the 2014 Rawlings Gold Glove Award Ceremony in New York on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014. This year’s honoree will join two of baseball’s most beloved and iconic leaders, Tommy Lasorda and Cal Ripken, Jr., as Rawlings Heart of Gold Award winners.
As one of the baseball’s most beloved leaders and a champion for the growth of amateur baseball around the world, Lasorda continues to speak at hundreds of fundraisers for high school and collegiate baseball programs across the country each year.
Ripken’s legacy in the game of baseball extends beyond his on-field achievements and is synonymous with his drive to enable participation and to teach all facets of the game in communities across the globe. Ripken’s leadership and personal involvement in Ripken Baseball and its various divisions is a natural extension of this mission and his passion for the game.
The 2014 Rawlings Heart of Gold honoree’s mission is to “strengthen families through his works, deeds and examples,” while generating significant awareness and financial resources “to help those living with Down syndrome” in the U.S. and “to improve the lives of the impoverished” in his native Dominican Republic.”
“We are proud of the positive influence sports have on young athletes and equally proud to honor those who are doing the right thing,” Parish said.