It seems role models in professional sports are few and far between these days, but Philadelphia Phillies’ center fielder and Maui’s own “Flyin’ Hawaiian” is working to change that trend - it’s simply in his nature to do so. Growing up in Wailuku and playing baseball at St. Anthony’s High School, Victorino was surrounded by positive ethics and generosity. Recently, he has begun to spread those morals and values in Hawaii and on the Mainland.
“Growing up, my dad was very involved in the community and he still is (as a Maui county councilman). I always told myself, if I ever get into a position to give back, I would definitely start my own foundation and fund to help kids as well as others in the community,” says Victorino.
Victorino, who signed a three-year contract extension with the Phils in January, heads the Shane Victorino Foundation, a charity organization giving back primarily to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hawaii and Philadelphia, but also helping to raise funds for Alzheimer’s and cancer research organizations. In its first major project, the Shane Victorino Foundation has pledged more than $900,000 to the Boys and Girls Clubs. The foundation also is working on a project to raise money for the Waipio Little League team, with plans to renovate its ballparks and install a new scoreboard.
On Nov. 20, Victorino will be back on Maui, playing in the third annual Shane Victorino Celebrity Golf Classic at Wailea Golf Course to benefit the Hawaii Children’s Cancer Foundation. “It’s just one of those events that brings the entire Hawaii community together to help the youth on all the islands,” says Victorino. “When baseball is all said and done, what better place is there to go home to than Hawaii?”
As MidWeek spoke to Victorino, the Phillies were in the middle of a heated playoff series with the San Francisco Giants, in hopes of returning to the World Series for the third consecutive year. Nerves? No. “When I go into a pressure situation, I try to stay loose and remember that I am playing the same game I did in the backyard with my buddies growing up,” says Victorino, who with wife Melissa last month was blessed with the birth of his first son, Kingston.
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