For New York Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson, the baseball accolades are what make him most notorious with Yankees brethren. Various All-Star appearances, back-to-back 40 home run seasons, and a Silver Slugger Award in 2011 are most synonymous with the 31-year-old left handed outfielder.
However, a recent honor by his college alma-mater, The University of Illinois at Chicago, sheds light on the class act Granderson is off the field. In addition to financing the construction of a brand new baseball stadium at the university, the baseball program retired Granderson's number 28 jersey, thus making him the second player in their program's history to have his number retired. In an article written by Scott Powers of ESPN.com and a summary from the university's baseball website, both athletic director Jim Schmidt and head baseball coach Mike Dee heaped praise on Granderson,
UIC Athletic Director Jim Schmidt
“We are grateful to Curtis for his generosity, which will impact UIC baseball and our student-athletes for generations. Curtis is once again demonstrating his strong core values in assisting the youth of Chicago. He is a special person and a great representative for UIC."
UIC Head Baseball Coach Mike Dee
“Curtis is a great representative of our baseball program and I’m really happy that we are recognizing him. Retiring someone’s jersey is really significant and no one more deserves that than Curtis. Curtis is a special human being that just happens to play baseball. What continues to impress me is his selflessness, humility and his sincere commitment to help educate young people. It’s the things he does off the field that makes him Curtis Granderson.”
A consistently generous benefactor to charities and other causes, Granderson has also traveled overseas to represent Major League Baseball in goodwill games, thus making him overall an impressive ambassador of the sport.
Due to be a free agent next season, Granderson is expected to have another important role offensively in 2013 for the Yankees, coming off an overhaul of veteran bats this offseason.
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