Many professional athletes are charitable — often more than the common fan would think. Whether it’s starting foundations or giving back to their local communities, sports stars tend to set the bar in the celebrity world when it comes to charitable acts. Texas Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels is no exception to the rule.
Most folks know Hamels for his talent on the mound. He was one of the Rangers’ top arms from this past season, finishing the year with an 11-6 record and 4.2 ERA. Although it was a down year by his standards, there’s no denying that he more than earned the $22.5 million he was owed in 2017. Let’s look beyond what he did on the diamond, though, and instead focus on his recent act of ultimate kindness.
Last Friday, it was announced that Hamels and his wife had donated their 32,000 square-f00t-home to Camp Barnabas. The enormous house was listed for $9,418,400 (via Realtor.com) when the donation was made.
The Christmas season just got a whole lot sweeter thanks to Texas Rangers Major League Baseball pitcher Cole Hamels and his wife Heidi gifting their 32,000 square foot home, including more than 100 acres, on Table Rock Lake to Camp Barnabas.
For those of you who are unaware, “Camp Barnabas is a non-profit charitable organization that includes two locations dedicated to providing life-changing experiences to individuals with special needs and chronic illnesses as well as their siblings” (via CampBarnabas.org). Hamels’ gift to the camp marked the biggest donation in organization history.
Here’s more information on Camp Barnabas:
Over the past 24 years, Camp Barnabas has welcomed more than 75,000 campers and missionaries to camp. Barnabas also includes Barnabas Prep, a two-year faith-based collegiate program based in Branson, MO designed specifically for students with special needs. More than an independent living learning experience, Prep helps individuals recognize their strengths and potential while challenging them to grow into their best selves… Barnabas exists to offer life-changing opportunities to all individuals, regardless of their disability or diagnosis, and to the people who serve them by providing social experiences that increase spiritual knowledge, social learning and human dignity.
Some would say this is nothing more than a publicity stunt or a donation for tax write-off purposes. Whether or not that’s the case, the fact that Hamels picked an organization that helps special needs kids makes it all the more commendable. During a time in which bullying and public shaming of special needs children are all too prevalent, this is another positive step towards acceptance and understanding.
Here’s this from ESPN about why the decision was made to part with the mansion:
An attorney for the couple told the Springfield News-Leader that they thought the mansion would be their dream home. However, when Hamels was traded from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Rangers, they moved to Texas and never moved into the Missouri house.
Here’s more insight into Hamel’s and his wife’s decision:
Out of all of these, Barnabas really pulled on our heartstrings. Seeing the faces, hearing the laughter, reading the stories of the kids they serve; there is truly nothing like it. Barnabas makes dreams come true, and we felt called to help them in a big way. We love that Barnabas sees the bigger picture,” says Cole and Heidi Hamels. “They are changing the way the world sees disability ministry.
It’s not everyday an athlete gives away a house — let alone a 100-acre, $9.75 million mansion. Still, it’s that type of selflessness and care for less-fortunate humans that separates Hamels from the rest of the pack. The Rangers should be proud of their starting pitcher, who took charity to a whole new level with this act of kindness.
Hamels was a 2002 first-round pick who spent his first nine seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies before being traded to the Rangers in 2015. Since landing with the Rangers, the 33-year-old (almost 34) has been in steady decline but continues to impress. With only one year left on his current contract (club option), we could see Hamels land one more massive contract before retirement finally comes calling.
Either way, it doesn’t discount what Hamels has done during his lengthy MLB career. During his 12 years in the league, he’s earned four All-Star nods, won a World Series and a World Series MVP award, earned the Babe Ruth Award and tossed a no-hitter. Throughout his career, he’s accumulated a 3.37 ERA, 2,227 strikeouts, and a 1.164 WHIP through 2,362.1 innings pitched. In other words, he’s been a star whose talents have stood the test of time.
On top of that, he’s earned more than $150 million throughout his career. That type of income obviously makes gifting this massive estate to Camp Barnabas all the more manageable for the Hamels family. Thank you, Cole, for reminding us that athletic millionaires do have hearts. Sometimes, it’s easy to understand why folks forget that.
Talk about a Merry Christmas in Missouri…