By W Kolditz
Their voices are rough. Their tattoos are many. But New York Yankees slugger Jason Giambi and his brother, Boston Red Sox”s first baseman Jeremy Giambi, shared their pure love for baseball Thursday Jan. 23 at Cottonwood High School in Murray.
The Giambi brothers were in Utah sharing inspirational stories, answering questions and demonstrating the science of hitting while raising money to help build baseball fields for local high school athletes.
“The talent is just as good out here in Utah as it is in Southern California,” Jeremy said. “The kids out here may not have the same opportunities. To get a chance to build a field or give back to baseball is a great opportunity for us.”
While speaking to the youth, the Giambis focused on the possibilities all young people have. Both of the brothers weren”t top prospects out of high school, but both players worked hard to make their dreams become a reality.
“The great thing about baseball is you can be any size, any weight and any height, and still be in the big leagues,” Jason said. “We love to promote baseball and hopefully [the youth] learn to love it as much as we do.”
“What separates everybody in the big leagues is heart,” Jeremy said. “Don”t let anybody tell you, ”You can”t do anything.” If you have will and desire, there is nothing you can”t accomplish.”
The Giambis are known for their charitable contributions. Jason has contributed his time to many off-the-field charities such as Operation Gumby, Special Olympics and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Early in Jason”s career, his mentor at first base was Mark McGwire. He said McGwire taught him to be hands on with charities.
To McGwire, charities were more than donating money. Spending time teaching children about the love he felt for baseball was an important part of charity for McGwire and also now is for Jason.
“McGwire took me under his wing and taught me the game,” Jason said. “Mark passed on knowledge of the game to me. We”re here today to keep passing on knowledge of the game.”
Jason came up to the major leagues in the Oakland Athletics system. In 2000, he was named the American League Most-Valuable Player after hitting 43 home runs and 137 RBIs while maintaining a .333 batting average. Last year, Jason signed a $120 million contract with the New York Yankees where he continued his power showcase knocking 41 home runs for the Bronx Bombers.
Jeremy, who is four years younger than Jason, began with the Kansas City Royals before joining Jason in 2000 with the Athletics. He split last year between the Athletics and Philadelphia Phillies, hitting a combined 20 home runs for the two teams. During the winter break, Jeremy signed on with the Red Sox as a free-agent.