Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Breslow's efforts recognized with Clemente nom

Lefty reliever up for award that puts community action front and center

BOSTON -- Craig Breslow looked a little tired. Seconds after he walked through the doors of the House of Blues alongside his fiancé, Kelly Shaffer, he was asked to pose for pictures by at least five different photographers. He and Shaffer obliged.

Then Breslow was asked to do a few interviews. He obliged.

Jon Lester's charity event to benefit research for pediatric cancer was next.

Breslow is always on a tight schedule. He never seems to mind.

The Red Sox had just returned from a seven-day road trip on the West Coast. The season almost five months in at the time, this was a grueling stretch. But Breslow wouldn't miss Lester's event.

Breslow always shows up to these. He also puts about 20 hours a week into his own charity, Strike 3 Foundation, which also heightens awareness and raises funds for childhood cancer research.

Tuesday is Roberto Clemente Day throughout Major League Baseball, a day instituted on the 30th anniversary of his passing in 1972 to keep alive Clemente's spirit of giving. Voting runs from Sept. 17 through Oct. 6 at as fans help decide which of those 30 club winners will receive this prestigious recognition. The nominees were chosen based on their dedication to giving back to the community, as well as their outstanding ability on the field.

With aspirations of being a doctor -- Breslow was accepted to medical school at New York University but deferred and eventually fulfilled his other dream, to be a Major League pitcher -- he's always had a drive to help. For his tremendous efforts in the community, Breslow was the Red Sox's nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.

"I will say, Craig is pretty unique in how he started the charity himself," Shaffer said earlier this season. "He really studied nonprofits to learn how to do this.

"From 2008 to this past January, Craig was doing 90 percent of the foundation work himself."

Breslow wasn't always sure how successful his charity would be, but he stuck with it.

"It was tough," Breslow said earlier this year. "We relied pretty heavily on friends and family. We had about 200 people at our first gala event, and I could name them all by name, just college friends, high school friends, family friends. Obviously you appreciate their support but, long-term, that won't be the driver for a successful organization, obviously."

The Strike 3 Foundation, which is operated by an all-volunteer staff, now has a five-year pledge to Yale New Haven Children's Hospital $100,000 each year, and it continues to be a success.

Breslow hasn't yet decided what he'd like to do when his baseball career is over. But the foundation is his way of contributing to the medical field while he's still in uniform.

"I think we'll have to see how this all plays out," the Yale alumni said. "I applied to medical school when I was released [by the Brewers in 2004] and deferred for a few years from NYU. Then I started to gain traction on the field and put those plans on the back burner for a while. But I think regardless of what I do, I'll always maintain some kind of responsibility to the community. I think obviously as cliché and overused as it is to say, I think we all feel responsibility to be more than just baseball players.

"It's an understanding that [heading a charity] is a sizable commitment. We're now running a business that raises more than a million dollars. This isn't just an afternoon hobby. But we've come to the understanding that people want to help and they're serious about helping, as long as you empower them with some creative freedoms. And it's worked out really well for us."

Jason Mastrodonato is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @jmastrodonato.
Read More: Boston Red Sox, Craig Breslow