Venezuela is known for its baseball players as well as its benevolence, both of which are featured in a New York Times article about Johan Santana of the Minnesota Twins.
Santana is a legendary pitcher and, according to the Times, “the most coveted player on the trade market.” But it is in his hometown of Tovar, nestled in the Venezuelan Andes, that Santana is most revered.
Santana has put his fame and fortune to good use in Tovar, sponsoring a toy drive for needy children and setting up a foundation to benefit the local hospital. He also bought a new fire truck for the town, and had it shipped there — no small feat considering the truck was made in Minnesota.
The two-time winner of the Cy Young award also throws an annual celebration in his hometown called “El Cy Youngazo.” Each November, Santana’s friends, family, and supporters gather to celebrate his success and his special place in the community.
Johan’s proud yet humble father, Jesus, told the Times: “I’m the same man I was before Johan got famous — I still enjoy hanging out with my friends and playing ball.” Now that’s a sports icon we can get behind!