Man learns wife is kidney donor match from special pack of baseball cards

Big League Stew

Opening a pack of baseball cards is a fun activity for fans of all ages. No matter what’s going on in your life, there’s always a level of excitement and anticipation that goes along with opening a pack because you never quite know what you’ll get.

For Steve Winfree, a Tennessee man who started dialysis for a kidney disease in November and was in need of a transplant, that simple pleasure turned into a life-changing moment when one specially placed card revealed his wife would be donating a kidney to him.

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According to’s Michael Clair and Jessica Kleinschmidt, the special pack of Topps cards included a Mike Trout and a Platinum Presence Clint Frazier. In the video we even catch a glimpse of a Noah Syndergaard card. It was a loaded pack, but Winfree had no idea that strategically placed among those cards was a card with his own likeness on it.

After discovering the card and flipping it over, Steve started to read what he thought might be a thoughtful card customized to raise his spirits. Then it revealed that his wife, Heather, was a match and would be his donor.

What followed were some pretty emotional moments for the couple.

They both told that opening cards had become a stress reliever for them throughout Steve’s battle, so it only made sense to use cards when making the big reveal.

“There were a lot of times where he would be in the hospital and I would grab a pack and we would open them,” Heather explained to “The low-key fun gets our minds off of the every day stresses.”

“She kept saying, ‘You have a special insert there,’ ” Steve added. “I knew something was up because she never films me.”

The filming and the word “recipient” appearing where a player’s position usually is may have ultimately given it away, but the moment Heather confirmed her plans to donate her kidney was the moment he’ll never forget.

“I saw it coming,” he said. “But I lost it and I asked her, ‘You want to save my life?’ ”

Steve Winfree shows off the baseball card that delivered a life-changing message. (Steve and Heather Winfree)
Steve Winfree shows off the baseball card that delivered a life-changing message. (Steve and Heather Winfree)

If that doesn’t tug at your heartstrings then nothing will. It also reminds us how the little things in life can bring so much joy and relief to those who need it, and why we should always take time to share those moments with them.

You can learn more about this amazing story by viewing the video below.

Or by visiting Cut 4.

Both are very much worth your time.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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