Cards spend game days serving the community

May 29th, 2023

This story was excerpted from John Denton's Cardinals Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click hereAnd subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

CINCINNATI -- is unquestionably one of the Cardinals' most versatile talents, with his ability to play three infield positions and all three outfield slots. The same versatility extends to the plate, where he is a natural switch-hitter. He’s even shown some uncommon flexibility this season in how he hits, batting left-handed against certain righties and even daring to hit righty against righties with nasty cutters and sliders.

Edman’s versatility also extends beyond the diamond, where he often works to help others in need as much as he helps the Cardinals with his ability to wear plenty of proverbial hats as an infielder and outfielder.

With little to no fanfare, Edman joined teammates , , and to serve lunch at the City Gospel Ministry in Cincinnati last week. Each player was in charge of doling out food to the members of the ministry looking for a hot meal to help them through the day. That particular crew of Cardinals didn’t mind working the afternoon shift at the ministry -- even though they played a game the night before against the Reds and had another showdown later that day.

“It's been a really neat opportunity and it’s given me a chance personally to live out my faith during the season,” Edman said of the charitable work helping others in need. “To be able to reach out and serve others is so gratifying for all of us. [Adam] Wainwright and some of the older guys like [Paul] Goldschmidt and Arenado have set great examples with the work they have done, and being a part of it is something I've definitely wanted to do. Since I’ve had the platform that I have now, I’ve wanted to be able to impact others, and share my love with others who might be less fortunate or need a helping hand.”

As is the case with most ideas out of the Cardinals' clubhouse, the 41-year-old Wainwright was the driving force behind trying to get teammates to give up some of their free time to help others in need. Wainwright’s charity, Big League Impact, works with other charitable organizations to locate areas of need in cities where the Cardinals will be playing. Then, Wainwright sends out the invite, and usually a half-dozen or so Cardinals answer the call to help out any way they can.

“I don’t think many people realize all the stuff that our guys do for people who really are in need,” said Wainwright, a former MLB Man of the Year Award winner for his work in various communities. “We’ve got a good group that’s always willing to help any way they can.”

In Chicago, Wainwright, Edman and others packed kits full of baseball gear for disadvantaged children so that they could play the sport this summer. In Denver, the group served an early-morning breakfast at a Christian ministry for those in need. In San Francisco, Edman and others spoke to elementary school classes about the hard work and dedication they put in to reach the Majors.

“One of the huge blessings that we have in this position as professional baseball players is that we have the means to help others,” Edman said. “We're on this earth and we have all these amazing things, but in reality, it's not all ours; it's all God's creation and we're just stewards of it. So, it's a blessing that God has trusted us to steward his resources. I want to try and use the resources at my disposal to help those in need.”