Hyun-Jin Ryu has been one of the best Blue Jays players of 2020. It looks like his contributions go beyond his stellar pitching on the field.
Writer’s note: The information for this article is from a column originally posted in Korea by one of Korea’s top MLB reporters, Jo Miye (조미예). Any mistranslations and miscommunications are mine and mine alone.
Back in Spring Training in Dunedin, Hyun-Jin Ryu was asked about the emerging COVID-19 crisis that was affecting many people in his home country. Ryu responded by expressing his concern for the situation and hope that a vaccine could be developed quickly.
A few hours later, it was reported that Ryu had made a donation of 100 million Won (around $115,000 CAD) to the Hope Bridge Korea Disaster Relief Association, an organization aimed to help those suffering from unexpected disasters.
After a reporter reached out to the Ryu couple asking about the donation, their reply was that of surprise: “We don’t know how people found out about the donation. We really just wanted to help in a quiet way.”
Soon after, the same thing happened again.
After Spring Training camps were shut down, Ryu stayed in Florida to maintain his conditioning. During that time, the Toronto Blue Jays Foundation asked Ryu if he would be willing to make a donation, and Ryu once again helped without hesitation.
Ryu ended up donating another 100 million Won to the Toronto Blue Jays foundation, and that money was used to help Canadian employees of sports organizations who were struggling because of the ongoing pandemic.
It’s been four months since Ryu’s acts of kindness and generosity, yet fans only know about his contributions on the field.
When asked if he made the donations because of his position as one of the Blue Jays’ representative players, Ryu emphatically disagreed: “Donating is not an obligation. I didn’t feel like it was an obligation. I just wanted to help to the best of my abilities. It’s a difficult time right now, and if I could help out a little, I thought that would be nice.”