David Robertson is Houdini on the mound, and a helping hand off it
TAMPA -- Yankees fans know David Robertson very well from his previous seven-year stint in pinstripes, so there was no re-introduction needed when he was re-acquired from the White Sox last July. Robertson may have evolved as a pitcher in the two-plus years he spent in Chicago, but one thing didn't change: he's still as passionate as ever about helping others.
High Socks for Hope, Robertson's charity, has been as active as ever over the last few years, but perhaps his most meaningful mission came this past offseason when he set up a fundraiser for Daniel Webb, a former White Sox teammate who tragically passed away in an ATV accident last October.
"Losing Daniel was really tough; I didn't play with him for long, but he left a lasting memory on me," an emotional Robertson said. "He was a kind, light-hearted guy who always had a story to tell you and could always make you laugh. He'll be missed greatly."
Webb, who was 28, left behind a wife, Melissa, and a new baby, and even though Daniel's Major League time will ensure the family some benefits, there was still so much more they needed.
"It's tough for his wife, who was also hurt in the accident, and his new baby," Robertson said, "and they just needed some help. We were asked to try to help them out, and we did everything we could to help raise some funds to get Mel back on her feet."
Anything to help a friend, but High Socks for Hope has helped many outside the public eye over the years. Since David and wife Erin founded the organization in 2011 to raise money for tornado victims in David's hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, they have raised money for causes ranging from disaster relief to veterans' affairs to purchasing beds for the underprivileged.
Community has always held a large place in Robertson's heart, and both his celebrity and his baseball talent play a huge role in allowing him to do everything that he wants to do to help others.
"Being professional baseball players, we're given an amazing platform, and we're well-compensated for what we do," Robertson said. "There's no reason we shouldn't find the time to give back, help those who are in need. Sometimes, it just takes seeing it firsthand to really move you forward to commit to helping all those others."
Robertson also knows that as a professional athlete, there are children worldwide who look to him as a role model, so that's even more reason to do as much good as he can.
"I try to be a good mentor for young kids," he said. "I know they're watching me, so I try to do things the right way so that I set a good example."
A good example that he can also set for his own children. Yes, children, as that is one other thing that changed while Robertson was in Chicago. His daughter Violet was born last July, right as he was returning to New York, giving now five-year-old son Luke a little sister.
And for all those faces David brings smiles to through his charity work, it's the two littlest Robertsons who do the same for him.
"Man, the smiles my kids bring to my face every day…that's what makes being a parent fun."
If you would like to donate to High Socks for Hope's continuing Daniel Webb Memorial, or to learn more about the Robertsons' organization, please visit www.highsocksforhope.org.