Created in 1991, the Branch Rickey Award honors individuals in Major League Baseball who contribute unselfishly to their communities and who are strong role models for young people. The award is named for the late Branch Rickey, credited with breaking the color barrier in the Major Leagues in 1945 when he signed Jackie Robinson, the first modern day African-American player.
“It is an honor to receive an award that represents Branch Rickey’s character and contributions to the community,” Hoffman said. “I’m excited to be receiving this award from the Rotary Club of Denver, I have an uncle who was a Rotarian. Their motto is “Service Above Self” and I am proud to be recognized with this prestigious award.”
The Branch Rickey Award event is presented annually by the Rotary Club of Denver to benefit Denver Kids, Inc. Denver Kids is a preventive counseling and mentoring program for at-risk students attending Denver Public Schools. Hoffman will receive the award at this year’s Branch Rickey Award dinner on Saturday, November 15 at the Marriott City Center in downtown Denver, starting with a silent auction at 5:30 p.m. Tickets for the dinner are $200 for adults and $75 for youth 18 and under, and may be reserved by calling the Rotary Club of Denver office at (303) 893-1919. For more information, visit www.branchrickeyaward.org.
Previous recipients of the Branch Rickey Award include Hoffman’s former Padres teammate and Hall-of-Fame outfielder Tony Gwynn, who was honored in 1995. Former Padre and Hall-of-Famer, Dave Winfield, was the inaugural recipient of the award in 1992 while playing for the Toronto Blue Jays. Winfield serves currently as the Padres Vice President/Senior Advisor.
All winners receive a 24-inch bronze sculpture, The Player, created by internationally renowned sculptor George Lundeen. A 13-foot tall statue of The Player stands in front of Coors Field.
Hoffman, 40, has been an active member in the San Diego community since joining the Padres in 1993. Having lost a kidney as an infant, he has been involved with the local chapter of the National Kidney Foundation since 1996 and now Rady Children’s Hospital Nephrology. Throughout the season, he hosts “Trevor’s Kidney Kids” to a special baseball experience which includes watching batting practice and a personal visit to get autographs and pictures with the All-Star closer. Additionally, Trevor and his wife Tracy provide their personal dugout seats to watch the game.
In addition to his support of kidney patients, Hoffman has supported the local Rady Children’s Hospital by visiting children throughout the year, participating in fundraisers with local sponsors and taking part in the hospital’s annual event “Celebration of Champions,” celebrating the lives of kids battling cancer. In 2008, Hoffman donated 100 portable Sony PlayStation units for the playrooms at Rady Children’s Hospital. He has made visits to children’s hospitals in other cities when the Padres play on the road.
Since 1995, Hoffman has donated over $81,000 to the Padres Scholars program. He makes several appearances year-round promoting reading and has provided his dugout seats to San Diego County Teachers of the Year annually since 2005. Hoffman is also involved in the Padres health and fitness initiatives, recording a CD and PSA for the club’s FriarFit program last spring and the Fun2BFit program in 2007.
Trevor and Tracy Hoffman have supported the San Diego Family Justice Center through a public service campaign and hosted a fundraising event with the players’ wives in 2006, raising nearly $200,000 in support of abused families.
As a tribute to both his father’s and father-in-law’s military service, Hoffman visits local military bases and hospitals. During the 2002 and 2003 seasons, he hosted families of enlisted men and women who served our country overseas, providing over 3,000 tickets at Qualcomm Stadium over the two years. Since the Padres move to PETCO Park in 2004, he has hosted military families in his dugout seats each homestand. His previous military outreach included purchasing hot dogs and sodas for all Marine recruits who attended games.
Hoffman has been named the Padres local recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award on six occasions most recently earlier this year. In 2006, he was honored with both the Lou Gehrig Award and Teammates for Kids Award. The Phi Delta Theta Fraternity presents the Lou Gehrig Award to the Major League player who best exemplifies the giving character of Hall-of-Famer Lou Gehrig. National Football League star Junior Seau’s foundation presents the Teammates for Kids Award for contributions to the community on and off the field. On January 19, 2005, Hoffman received the prestigious Hutch Award, given annually to the Major League player who best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire of baseball great Fred Hutchinson, both on and off the field. Hoffman was also the 1999 Padres Chairman Award recipient.
With 554 career saves, Hoffman is the all-time Major League leader. A six-time All-Star, he reached the 30-save mark for the 13th season in 2008, extending his Major League record for 30-save campaigns.