Andrew McCutcheon

Andrew McCutchen, a true friend of Leo High School

The selection of Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates as the 2015 winner of Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award for community service and humanitarian activities came as no surprise to anyone at Leo High School.

In May of 2014, while the Pirates were in Chicago to play the Cubs, McCutchen took groups of kids from Leo and the Lost Boyz Baseball Foundation on a shopping trip to NikeTown on Michigan Ave. downtown. Each youngster was allowed to pick out a new pair of shoes, then fill a duffel bag with enough socks, shirts, shorts, sweats and other gear to last into adulthood. Most of them made room in their bags for stuff for friends and family members, too. Nice.

So was McCutchen’s little speech to the kids before they started loading up. He noted that they’d been chosen because they were doing well in the classroom as well as on the playing field, and they should always maintain that priority: While it’s fine to strive for athletic success, he reminded the kids that it’s more important to be a good student, a good citizen and a good person. He spoke with a friendly sincerity that the kids picked up on. Now Major League Baseball, through the Clemente Award, has recognized the depth of McCutchen’s commitment to helping others.

John Fuller, McCutchen’s marketing rep, set up the event at Andrew’s request, but once inside the store, McCutchen was very much involved. The NikeTown staff was friendly and helpful to the kids as well. All in all, a very impressive gesture by a very impressive guy, who wanted no publicity. The Leo kids tell me they have been expressing their gratitude at the All-Star ballot box … voting early and often for Andrew McCutchen, a true friend to Leo High School.