A coalition of over 40 current and retired Major League Baseball players have united. Collectively, they have launched the “Step Up to the Plate” fund. The efforts are to support coronavirus relief efforts in the Dominican Republic.
The coalition, organized by Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez and his foundation, has raised over $550,000. They will provide essential supplies, personal protective equipment, and food in the Dominican Republic.
“The Dominican Republic has always been my home, and right now it truly needs our help. Being supported in this effort by so many of my fellow players is an honor,” Martinez said to ESPN. “These are people without the most basic needs. We are blessed to be in a position to help, and it is our duty to do so.”
In addition, the MLB and the MLB Players Association also will make a joint donation. The donation has not been formally announced yet.
Some of MLB’s biggest Dominican stars have joined Martinez in his efforts. This included former players David Ortiz, Adrian Beltre and Jose Bautista, and current players.
Martinez and commissioner Rob Manfred held a conference call with several players from the coalition. Aside from pledging help to the Dominican Republic, he is working tirelessly to get baseball started this year.
The Dominican Republic has led pro sports in players born outside the U.S. every year since 1995.
In 2019, the D.R. led MLB with a record 102 players on Opening Day rosters. This was the first time any foreign country had exceeded 100 players.