Yadier Molina’s passion for the game of baseball is evident with every fist pump, bat flip, and home run hop. His intensity, drive, and sometimes seemingly super-human commitment to his craft has made him the heart and soul of St. Louis baseball for this generation.
Perhaps the only thing on equal par with baseball as far as “passion projects” go for Molina is the place the two-time World Baseball Classic Silver Medalist calls home - Puerto Rico.
In 2010, Yadier and his wife Wanda Molina started Fundación 4 - a charitable organization whose stated mission is, in part, “to create happier lives and futures for underprivileged children in Puerto Rico.”
Through the foundation, Molina hosts events both in St. Louis and in Puerto Rico to raise funds to support that mission.
Last September, while Molina was finishing up the 2017 season with the St. Louis Cardinals, Hurricane Maria tore through his homeland, leaving many of the 3.4 million U.S. citizens living there in desperate need of assistance. Through his foundation, and a Go Fund Me campaign, Molina “collected over $800,000 in relief aid for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.” Then, just days after the season concluded, Molina made his way to Vega Alta to personally deliver some such assistance.
Molina traveled the area without journalists so he could knock on the doors and spend time with neighbors, many of whom are still without power and some of whom were already in what he has described as an “underprivileged” area.
He chronicled the visits on Instagram and in photos provided by his foundation. In them, Molina is delivering water, dry goods, and many embraces. In one photo, Molina is clutching hands with a Vega Alta resident and in the background stands bronze statues of him, his two brothers and their father, Benjamin. All three of Benjamin's sons played in the majors. The statues were placed in Barrio Espinoza in Dorado, Puerto Rico, to celebrate the family. Molina’s foundation delivered trucks loaded with ice as well as water and other provisions.
Such is the personal nature of the Molinas commitment to and fulfillment of the mission of Fundación 4.
In June of this year, Molina hosted the “Flavors of Puerto Rico” event in St. Louis, bringing a taste of the island life to The Lou, but more importantly bringing the St. Louis community to place where they could help the proud Puerto Rican give back.
“Thank you for being there for us,” he said at the event, “Because we really need it.”
Earlier this month, Molina was announced as the Cardinals nominee for the 2018 Roberto Clemente Award.
Not surprisingly, Clemente was a childhood hero of Molina - the two sharing not only their Puerto Rican heritage, but also their humanitarian heart.
Should the award be given to Molina, he would join the likes of Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, Albert Pujols and Carlos Beltrán as Cardinals to win the Roberto Clemente Award.
As we celebrate all things Yadier Molina this week, we want to do our part in recognizing not only his baseball pedigree, but also his compassionate heart. So, here are two ways to do just that:
Pick up a t-shirt, hoodie, or sticker showing your Yadi love, the proceeds of which will go directly to Fundación 4. There are two designs available.
Happy Yadi Week, everyone!