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Rangers bring cheer to hospitalized children

Players, staff, owners and mascot make annual trip to Cook Children's Medical Center
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

FORT WORTH, Texas -- The miracle of birth did not stop just because Hurricane Harvey was approaching the Texas coast in August. Ten newborn children were in dire circumstances at a Corpus Christi hospital while the city braced for Harvey's landfall.

The 10 children were flown from Corpus Christi to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth to get the care they needed. One child needed heart surgery. The hospital makes about 3,000 of these transfers every year as part of their Teddy Bear Transport Program.

FORT WORTH, Texas -- The miracle of birth did not stop just because Hurricane Harvey was approaching the Texas coast in August. Ten newborn children were in dire circumstances at a Corpus Christi hospital while the city braced for Harvey's landfall.

The 10 children were flown from Corpus Christi to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth to get the care they needed. One child needed heart surgery. The hospital makes about 3,000 of these transfers every year as part of their Teddy Bear Transport Program.

There are stories like these all through Cook, and the Rangers listened to them all on Monday as they made their annual holiday visit to the facility.

"This is something I look forward to every year," said shortstop Elvis Andrus, who wore a Santa hat. "It's amazing for us to be here and bring some happiness to the kids. It brings happiness to all of us. It's a great activity from the organization and I'm happy to be a part of it."

Cook has been located in Fort Worth for almost 100 years with a primary service area of Denton, Hood, Johnson, Parker, Tarrant and Wise Counties. There are now more than 60 primary, specialty and urgent care centers located in Texas.

Video: Rangers community outreach at children's hospital

The medical center in Fort Worth played host on Monday to Andrus, Joey Gallo, Shin-Soo Choo, Matt Bush and Nick Gardewine, manager Jeff Banister, general manager Jon Daniels, special assistant Michael Young, first-base coach Steve Buechele, broadcasters Eleno Ornelas, Matt Hicks, Jose Guzman, Dave Raymond and Eric Nadel, and owners Ray Davis and Neil Leibman.

But nothing lit up the atrium full of children more than the ever-popular team mascot Rangers Captain.

"For all of us it's Christmas time and we get to come out here, see the kids, help make their day, say hi and spend some time with them," Gallo said. "It's more fun for us than for them. This is my third year. I do it every year and I always look forward to it. We love coming out here and enjoying the moment."

The Rangers will also visit the Children's Medical Center in Dallas on Tuesday.

"To give back and see the kids' smiling faces, be able to use our platform to really reach out and for one day, it makes a difference," Bush said. "It puts a smile on my face as much as the kids. Being able to bring some brightness to their situation for one day, maybe it carries a long way and they can remember the Texas Rangers."

Delino DeShields did not make the visit to Fort Worth on Monday. He was stuck in Atlanta because of the power outage at the airport.

DeShields was this year's honorary chairman of the Cowboy Santas toy drive event and the grand finale was held on Monday afternoon at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Plenty of DeShields' teammates headed to help out while the chairman sorted through his holiday travel mess.

This is the holiday season and the Rangers are staying busy.

"It's just uplifting to be able to help people out and be an inspiration. Just to make them happy for one day is a good feeling," Bush said.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

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