News outlets are filled with stories about the poor behavior of professional athletes. Since arriving in Detroit, the Lions Ndamukong Suh has been the poster boy for such knuckleheads with numerous traffic mishaps, mouthing off in the media and questionable on-field tactics (some say he is the dirtiest player in the NFL).
Compare and contrast Suh with former Tiger Curtis Granderson. After a 2004 cameo, Grandy joined the Tigers for good in August 2005 and anchored the outfield until being traded to the Yankees prior to the 2010 season. During his years with Detroit, Granderson was widely viewed as one of the good-guys of sports.
In 2007, he founded the Grand Kids Foundation to focus on improving the educational experience for youth nationwide as well as helping to re-establish baseball opportunities for inner city youths. Since then, the charity has awarded more than $80,000 in grants to various programs and schools throughout the nation.
The accolades don’t stop there. According to the charity’s web site, “Curtis was named the 2009 MLBPA Marvin Miller Man of the Year, and has been nominated for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award three times (twice in Detroit and once in New York), which honors the MLB player that contributes the most off the field. He also acts as the official MLB Spokesperson for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move anti-obesity campaign and has served for three years as MLB’s Overseas Ambassador.”
Curtis is known for organizing charity basketball games to benefit his Grand Kids Foundation. His last act before heading to New York in 2010 was hosting a charity game at Birmingham Seaholm High School. Many wanted to turn the game into a grand farewell, but not Granderson.
“I think this event was very successful,” Granderson told the Seaholm student newspaper. “We packed the gym, we raised a lot of money for education and we just had fun. I didn’t view it as a goodbye to Detroit as much as I viewed it as a thank you to the city and the fans. They are who have helped shape me as a player and person, and I will always be grateful for that.”
Grandy has continued his efforts as part of the Yankees. Earlier this week, he was back in his hometown of Chicago for a similar event to benefit the Special Olympics and local schools. Here’s a shot of Curtis kicking off the event.