By Brian McKay
Some sports are not known for their role models. Premier League footballers in the UK are regularly embroiled in scandals that many people blame on their six-figure salaries. We also have stars like Lance Armstrong, who brought the sport of competitive cycling into disrepute following proven allegations of steroid abuse. And, of course, Tiger Woods, who needs no introduction.
Fortunately, baseball is far more likely to produce positive role models for young fans to look up to. Most baseball players are hardworking, family men, better known for their skill and athleticism than drug taking and cheating scandals. The sport has had its ups and downs, but the following five stars are role models we can all look up to.
Bryce Harper plays for the Washington Nationals. He’s one of the rising stars in the sport and he’s worked his way up through the ranks with a combination of talent and hard work. In 2012, Harper won Rookie of the Year and by 2015, he was considered a top player. Harper is always trying to improve his game and in an age where many kids think there are shortcuts to fame and fortune, Harper proves that hard work really pays dividends.
Derek Jeter is one of the good guys. When people were saying he was past his prime, he didn’t rise to it. Instead, he carried on doing his thing and scoring the numbers for his team, the Yankees. Unlike some players, Jeter was never involved in any drama on or off the pitch. He’s also never been touched by any whiff of steroid abuse.
Marke Buehrle plays for the Toronto Blue Jays. He’s best known for his happy, smiling demeanor. Even when the camera isn’t trained on him, he’s still smiling. The fans love Buehrle because he’s always happy to have a laugh and a joke with them. He’s the original party clown. Too many players snub the fans when they hit the big time. Buehrle isn’t one of them.
Albert Pujols is a true family man and an inspiration to all sportsmen and women. Pujols is very committed to the sport. He began his career with the St. Louis Cardinals and soon became a player to watch. He’s famous for his athletic ability and talent on the pitch, but he’s equally famous for his charitable work off the pitch. In 2005, the Pujols set up a foundation to raise awareness of Down’s Syndrome. Albert and his wife do a lot to help Downs kids and their families and he’s regularly photographed at charity events.
Cal Ripken Jr.
Carl Ripken Jr. has retired from baseball, but during his long and successful career, he got involved with charity work, started clinics to help promote baseball at the grassroots level, and did a huge amount of work to help youngsters get involved in the sport. He also earned his place in the 3,000 hits club.
This is a small selection of players – there are many more superstars in the world of baseball, including legends Sandy Koufax and Ken Griffey Jr.
Who’s your favorite role model? Let us know in the comments!