ST. LOUIS (Nov. 22, 2013) – News of David Freese's trade to the Los Angeles Angels quickly spread through the halls of SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center, a place where Freese has been a frequent visitor over the past two seasons. The hometown hero has not only delighted baseball fans in St. Louis, but he's also lifted the spirit of dozens of sick and injured children at the medical center.
In 2012, Freese joined teammate Matt Holliday as co-chairman of Homers for Health, where they encouraged fans to make a pledge for every home run hit by the St. Louis Cardinals. In two seasons, the program has raised more than $900,000 for children in need. Together, with many of their teammates, Freese and Holliday and Allen Craig, who also co-chairs the program, have developed relationships with many families at SSM Cardinal Glennon.
Eight-year-old Vivien Kozeny, a heart patient at SSM Cardinal Glennon, shared her favorite memory of Freese.
"I'll miss him very much," Vivien said. "I'll always remember the time he surprised me pretending to be my new doctor, Dr. Freese. He's just really nice and smells good too."
The Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation is also expressing gratitude to David for all he's done for the hospital.
"The Angels aren't just getting a good ballplayer: They're getting a great guy who will make a big difference in their community," said Dan Buck, vice president of SSM Foundations. "David was always willing to do fun things and has an awesome sense of humor. Not every ball player would wear a sombrero and a pig nose in a commercial to promote a fundraiser. He's done Homers for Health appearances at school functions, athletic associations, attended corporate meetings, he's come to parties and press conferences—all to make sure that Homers for Health was a huge success."
Freese has vowed to continue his support of the hospital and will make visits when he comes back home for visits.
"We understand baseball is a business and these types of things can happen. But it's always tough when a friend moves away," said Sherlyn Hailstone, president of SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center. "We'll miss David a lot. But we trust that Matt Holliday, Allen Craig and others will help fill the huge void we'll have at Cardinal Glennon without David around."
Freese, Holliday and Craig will be featured on Fox Sports Midwest on Thanksgiving night at 9pm, in a special tribute show to the amazing work these Cardinals players did in the community this season. "Homers for Health 2013: A Champion for Kids" will announce the final total of this year's program, expected to exceed $500,000.
Click HERE to view the promo and learn more.