Jonny Gomes is no longer a member of the Oakland A's organization after signing a two-year, $10 million deal — which will pay him the highest salary of his 10-year career — with the Boston Red Sox last Wednesday, but his most recent former club will still honor one very thoughtful request he made before his departure.
According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, Gomes came up with the idea to donate one of the A's full playoff shares to charity a few weeks ago. On Monday, Major League Baseball announced the distribution of those shares, with the A's receiving 51 full shares worth $34,325.16 a piece.
With Gomes' suggestion in mind, his former teammates and coaches responded by unanimously deciding one full share would indeed be donated to charity.
Gomes suggested that the #Athletics provide one full share to charity and all the players were for it. Unanimous decision to make donation.
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 26, 2012
The donation won't quite make the impact it could have had the A's made it deeper into the postseason — the world champion San Francisco Giants received a record $377,002.64 for every full playoff share and the American League champion Detroit Tigers also received a record $284,274.50 payoff for finishing second best. But the A's share still represents a significant amount of much-needed funds that will go to one or several charities depending on how they divide it up.
It also shows a lot of character and unselfishness on the part of Gomes and the organization. Their kind gesture takes me back to the Colorado Rockies' decision to vote a full playoff share to the family of Mike Coolbaugh back in 2007. Earlier that season, Coolbaugh was killed after being struck in the head by a line drive while coaching first base for Colorado's Double-A affiliate in Tulsa. His widow, Amanda, ultimately received a share worth $233,505.18 thanks to the Rockies' unlikely trip to the World Series.
It would be great if the donation of a playoff share to charity and other worthy causes caught on around the league, or even if MLB set one share aside that is designed to go a charity of the team's choice. Obviously the players and other personnel have earned their fair rewards, but there's a chance to establish something very cool and very meaningful that gives back and benefits the communities and charities attached to the organizations involved.