On-field success helped Rockies give
World Series appearance boosted 2008 charitable efforts
DENVER -- The good feeling that the Rockies' franchise garnered by going to the 2007 World Series benefited the local community in 2008.
The Rockies made charitable grants totaling about $1 million and were highly successful in their community efforts. The success made that much easier, according to Jim Kellogg, the team's vice president of community/retail operations.
"We were on the radar screen for a lot of folks that we hadn't been in the past," Kellogg said. "The Rockies' organization and the Rockies' players, whatever we did in Colorado, people reacted to at a very positive rate. It just felt great. Everybody knows who we are now. We saw a difference."
One direct place where winning in 2007 helped in 2008 was the "Wins for Kids" program, under which manager Clint Hurdle and his wife, Karla, donate $100 for each of the club's victories and urge fans to do the same to benefit Children's Hospital and the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association. The club didn't win nearly as many games in 2008, but "Wins for Kids" generated twice as much revenue as in the past.
"People can donate $1 to infinity," Kellogg said. "But the biggest move this year was we had a DVD called "21 Days," [produced by FSN Rocky Mountain to detail the run to the 2007 pennant]. If people donated $25 or more, they got a free DVD. People really responded to that, and the DVD was what really drove the program this year."
Another program that saw an increase was the Clint Hurdle/Colorado Rockies Charity Fund Golf Tournament, which had more than 225 participants, Kellogg said.
Kellogg credited the players with helping make the community effort possible. Pitcher Jeff Francis was recognized as the Rockies' recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award for sportsmanship, community involvement and contribution to the team. He and his wife, Allison, purchased recycling bins for Coors Field, made visits to Children's Hospitals, and reached out in many ways, public and private. Francis taught pitching fundamentals to children at Boys & Girls Clubs.
"Jeff and Allison set the bar for people in general, and you can add baseball players to that," Kellogg said. "They understand their role, but if Jeff wasn't a baseball player, he and Allison would still be involved in the community. Jeff understands that as a Major League pitcher, he can help people. He is so great and gracious."
Kellogg added that the Rockies are deep in terms of players willing to extend their reach beyond the baseball field.
Part of that is simply the players themselves, and part of it is how the Rockies operate, Kellogg said.
Here's a detailed look at the Rockies' community efforts in 2008:
Grants made in 2008 were approximately $1 million.
Fifty grants were made to local non-profits.
In May, Home Run for the Homeless had more than 200 runners and walkers.
In June, the Clint Hurdle/Colorado Rockies Charity Fund Golf Tournament had more than 225 golfers, including players and coaches.
In September, the Hal O'Leary Dinner on Coors Field benefited people with disabilities.
The Rockies' front office and players had a monthly effort for some kind of community volunteer work. Serving lunch at a senior center, reading to preschoolers, raking leaves for the elderly, serving lunch to the homeless, and landscaping projects for disadvantaged people were among the examples.
The club hosted the Medal of Honor recipients at Coors Field.
The annual Senior Top 50 High School All-Star Game was played at Coors Field.
Players and coaches provided opportunities through baseball clinics at Coors Field.
Players conducted a baseball clinic at Boys & Girls Club.
The team conducted a baseball clinic for the National Sports Council for the Disabled.
A PLAY clinic at Coors Field taught baseball skills and demonstrated the importance of fitness.
The Rockies contributed to the RBI Program -- Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities.
The Rockies Wives served lunch at the Brandon Shelter for women.
There were visits to hospitals and the Sewall Child Development Center.
Other ongoing programs were Buses for Baseball, work with the Denver Action Team and the Care and Share Program, blood drives, book drives and food drives.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.