Class of 2021
Curtis Granderson

The son of two Chicago teachers, Curtis was born in 1981 and grew up in the south suburbs of Blue Island and Lynwood. He attended Thornton Fractional South for High School where he played baseball and basketball. An All-State selection his senior year on the diamond, he chose to attend college at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to play both baseball and basketball. The Detroit Tigers selected Curtis in the third round of the 2002 MLB draft, and he made his major league debut on September 13, 2004. He spent his first six of 16 total seasons in Detroit. In his career, Granderson played 2,057 games and totaled 1,800 hits, 344 home runs, 153 stolen bases, 937 RBIs, and 1,217 runs scored. At retirement in January of 2020, he was MLB’s active leader in triples, with 95. Granderson made it to the postseason eight times and played in two World Series, with the Tigers in 2006 and the Mets in ’15. Curtis is well known for his contributions to his community. While still playing, he was the 2016 winner of MLB’s Roberto Clemente Award – given annually to a player who demonstrates Clemente’s values of commitment to community and helping others – and he was also named the Marvin Miller Man of the Year four times by the MLB Players Association. When he was endorsed by Nike, Louisville Slugger, and Rawlings, Curtis asked them to donate money to his “Grand Kids” foundation for equipment to inner-city baseball programs rather than pay him. For the 2021 MLB season, Curtis provided the narration for a video that went across all MLB ballparks commemorating Jackie Robinson Day on April 15th, and he donated 42,000 meals to the COVID-19 food bank partners in honor of Robinson’s jersey number 42. In 2020, Curtis retired after 16 years in MLB and currently serves as the President of The Players Alliance, a non-profit composed of 150 Black MLB players united to create increased opportunities for the Black community in the game of professional baseball. In addition to his work with the “Grand Kids” foundation, in 2013 he donated $5 million to the University of Illinois at Chicago for the construction of their ballpark, Les Miller Field at Curtis Granderson Stadium.

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