Santiago gives back after Oklahoma tornado

Santiago gives back after Oklahoma tornado
May 28, 2013, 6:15 pm
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Growing up, Hector Santiago saw his father, who was in the floor covering business, do plenty to give back to the community. Often times, that took the form of sponsoring little league baseball or softball teams and making sure they had enough equipment, uniforms and trophies. 

"Nothing special, nothing high-money, he wasn't somebody that was just bringing in checks all over the place," Santiago said. "But he always had just enough to be able to give back."

Compared to other major leaguers, Santiago doesn't make much. In two major league seasons, he's made just over the league minimum -- although that's still combined for $985,000, according to Baseball-Reference.com's salary database.

"Where I'm at right now, you can obviously go out and do a little more than what he did," Santiago said.

Following this month's devastating tornado that hit Moore, Okla., and killed 24 and leveled a large swath of homes, the desire to give back that Santiago's father instilled in him kicked in. His agent contacted a local church to see if there were any families in need, and connected with one whose daughter was going to delay going to college because of the financial hardship caused by the tornado.

Santiago sent money to the family so they could purchase college supplies and see their daughter begin school on time. And, after the tragic shootings in Newtown, Conn., last December, Santiago visited with local schoolchildren, hoping to take their minds off the horrific events that transpired a month earlier.

"He's doing it from his heart," good friend and teammate Nate Jones said. "He doesn't care who finds out or whatever. He just knows someone needs help, he wants to try to help them. He's doing it from his heart."

Santiago told Jones about his donation to the family in Oklahoma after the fact, and Jones was hardly surprised.

"He's one of the most unselfish guys I know," Jones said. "It doesn't matter what he's making. He could be making pennies to what he's making now, he'd still be trying to help somebody, trying to give, seeing what he can do to give back."

As Santiago puts it: "It's something I feel like I can do and I have the ability to be able to do it, so why not?"