Rangers designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo has decided to donate $1,000 to each of the club’s nearly 200 minor leaguers, per a report from Naver Sports in Choo’s native South Korea (link in Korean). Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News confirms the story and has more on Choo’s donation.
As Grant explains, Choo has often spoken of his desire to help the game’s next generation of players — just as he was helped out by veterans as an up-and-comer in the Mariners’ system. Upon overhearing Rangers minor leaguer Eli White discuss the financial pressures of the Spring Training shutdown with a fellow minor leaguer, Choo decided to take action and lend a hand. The uneasiness facing so many minor leaguers — particularly those not on the 40-man roster — resonated with the veteran Choo, who tells Grant that as a minor leaguer himself, he’d skip meals on the road and use his meal money to purchase diapers for his son (Twitter link).
Major League Baseball recently announced a plan to pay minor leaguers a $400 weekly stipend through the end of May, but there’s no guarantee of any income after that point (just as there hadn’t been any prior baseball-related income for such players since last September). Choo’s gesture, White says within the Naver story, brought his wife to tears. Choo, according to the Naver piece, has also donated more than $161,000 (200 million Korean won) to South Korea’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.