Since joining the Pirates, David Bednar has dedicated himself to improving the lives of those from his hometown of Pittsburgh. Whether in-season or in the offseason, at an event at the ballpark or a school in a suburb far from his home, David is there, with a smile.
For the second consecutive season, David has led the charge in the clubhouse, rallying many of the guys, particularly the pitching staff, to get out into the community and give back to our great city. As players settled into the offseason and returned to their hometowns scattered across the globe, David and his now-wife, Casey, settled into their home in Pittsburgh. David continued to dedicate his time to giving back to the community during the cold winter months.
Together with hospital partner Allegheny Health Network in October 2023, the Pirates announced and launched Chill Mobile, a retrofitted RV that offers students across the Pittsburgh region a calming space where they can learn evidence-based coping skills and participate in practical and interactive experiences. The goal of not only improving individual mental health, but of extending the conversation into the larger community and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and wellness. David was part of the inaugural series of visits to nine local schools, impacting more than 2,700 students throughout the offseason. He attended kickoff assemblies, spoke to students about how he copes in the stressful situations he faces as a closer in MLB and reinforced the essential message that it’s OK not to be OK. David’s presence in this program has helped the Pirates and AHN continue their work on reducing the stigma around mental health.
In November, David joined the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and Pirates Community team for a Thanksgiving Dinner distribution event alongside players and alumni from the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Penguins to load meals, gift cards and goodies into families’ cars who arrived from all parts of the area. The event ensured more than 300 local families could celebrate the holiday with a proper meal during the challenging economic times that plague so many. Additionally, David helped lead a donation effort of more than 500 canned goods for Light of Life Rescue Mission, a Pittsburgh-area homeless shelter, to support their efforts to feed people experiencing homelessness a full Thanksgiving dinner.
Support for local Miracle Leagues is a cornerstone of the community work done by the Pirates and Pirates Charities, and 2023 marks 15 years of Miracle League presence in western Pennsylvania. The Pirates and Pirates Charities took the opportunity to celebrate this landmark with various Miracle League events throughout the season, and David was a part of all of them. Three Miracle League Fantasy Camp events were held for approximately 120 athletes with unique abilities. Pirates players and coaches led them through several skill-based stations and focused on highlighting what these athletes can do instead of what they cannot. At each event, David presented a commemorative medal to athletes and signed countless autographs for all his Miracle League buddies.
David continued his work in the mental health space when the Pirates and Pirates Charities celebrated Mental Health Awareness Month by hosting the second annual Pirates Charities Family Walk at PNC Park. This community event invites fans for a non-competitive walk around the ballpark, with all proceeds benefiting the Pirates Charities Chill Mobile program. David and Casey were at the walk to mingle with attendees, sign autographs and share stories of his involvement in the program.
David has also grown fond of a local organization, Lending Hearts, which supports Pittsburghers and their families impacted by pediatric cancer. Through financial support and unique visits to local patients, David has affected this critical space over the last year. In July, David hosted a clinic at PNC Park for current Lending Hearts patients and their siblings, teaching them basic baseball skills and giving them a day on the field at PNC Park they’ll never forget.
"Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world, and you don't, then you are wasting your time on Earth.” These famous words by the Pirates’ very own Roberto Clemente ring true with David, who is using his time to impact our community and our young team, showing them the power baseball has in the communities where they play. In addition to the various community events in which David has participated, he helps fulfill various meet-and-greets and signs hundreds of items for the Pirates Charities team to use for multiple fundraising efforts and in-kind donations to support hundreds of local non-profit organizations.
David was born in Pittsburgh, and was drafted in 2016 by the San Diego Padres in the 35th round as the 1,044th overall pick. He’s a 2013 graduate of Mars High School and attended Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. He joined the Pirates in 2021 and was selected as an All-Star in 2022 and 2023.