ST. LOUIS -- At least once every season, Cardinals Care holds a grant ceremony on the field at Busch Stadium to present money to the various charitable organizations it supports. It's not every year, however, that St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and the team's principle owner, Bill DeWitt Jr., attend the festivities.
That's because it's not every year that Cardinals Care crosses a threshold like it did on Tuesday. In an afternoon ceremony at Busch Stadium, Cardinals Care passed $10 million in total gifts extended to area organizations.
Broadcaster Al Hrabosky served as master of ceremonies, and also making appearances were manager Tony La Russa, general manager Walt Jocketty and three Cardinals stars -- Chris Carpenter, Jim Edmonds and Jeff Suppan. The assorted dignitaries unveiled a giant replica check with "$10 Million" written on it, but the event was more about giving a number of smaller amounts -- a total of $342,023 to 129 groups.
"We are celebrating quite a milestone today, $10 million in grants to area youth, and we are very proud of this milestone," DeWitt said. "Ten million dollars is a lot of money, and it's done a lot of good."
Tim Hanser, Cardinals vice president and the director of Cardinals Care, beamed with pride at the ceremony. Cardinals Care works to support local organizations, primarily benefiting children.
"Today, we pass a special milestone in this grand history of charitable giving," Hanser said of the organization that was founded in 1996.
La Russa, Jocketty and the players read the names of the organizations benefiting from the grants.
Cardinals Care prides itself on the participation of players and team staff in its efforts. Players not only contribute money, but time as well.
"I think all of us are presented opportunities or proposals, ideas, and you usually have to weigh the positives and the negatives before you decide if you're going to say yes and commit," La Russa said. "But from Day 1, the idea behind Cardinals Care was a natural. It was a way for all of us in the Cardinals organization to be involved in the community.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.