Chicago Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber put on an absolute show at the 2018 Home Run Derby by blasting 55 home runs to take second-place in the annual contest. But, even bigger than that was the “home run” he hit by surprising fans at the Adult Down Syndrome Center in Park Ridge, Ill. on Tuesday.
Schwarber dished high-fives, posed for pictures and signed autographs for many of the teens and adults that the center serves.
The Adults Down Syndrome Center’s mission is “to enhance their [those with Down Syndrome] lives by providing comprehensive, holistic, community-based care and services using a team approach.”
And Schwarber was certainly an unofficial team member that day.
Chicago @Cubs outfielder and Home Run Derby Finalist @kschwarb12 visited the Adult Down Syndrome Center this morning surprising some lucky fans with a day they will always remember! 🐻⚾ #Cubs pic.twitter.com/nJRGRkdQh9
— Advocate Health Care (@advocatehealth) July 24, 2018
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 24, 2018
The Cubs and Advocate Health Center (which oversees the Adult Down Syndrome Center) have a long-standing partnership that often enables participants at the center to experience Cubs baseball on an amazing level.
Just a day earlier, Schwarber stepped up to bat for an entirely different community when he surprised police officers and their families by stopping by the 25th District Police Station in Chicago.
This was part of the Schwarber’s Neighborhood Heroes campaign, an effort launched to recognize police officers, firefighters and veterans, and honor their courage.
The cause hits close to home. Schwarber’s father was a police officer for more than 30 years and his mother was a dispatcher.
“I know the toll and the grind that all of these people go through,” Schwarber told NBC Sports. “Not just the police officers themselves, but their families as well. This is just a big ‘thank you’ to them for their service. I just want to shed some light on all the good that these guys do.”
Not only did Schwarber sign autographs, pose for pictures and eat lunch with officers and their families, but he also donated 25 Law Enforcement Medical and Rescue Training kits to the station.
For Schwarber, baseball and enriching the lives of others go hand-in-hand. And, it’s athletes with that perspective who deserve more high-fives and fist-bumps than any dugout can provide.