The Orioles signed Kyle Gibson to supply a veteran presence to their rotation and clubhouse. But his impact in Baltimore has gone beyond the team.
On Friday, the Orioles named Gibson as their nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, an annual honor that recognizes players for their philanthropic efforts. Gibson, a 35-year-old starting pitcher in his first year with Baltimore, has been nominated twice previously, first with the Minnesota Twins in 2019 and last season with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Gibson said he and his wife have been philanthropic since they were young, participating in community service events through church and sports growing up.
“Elizabeth and I have tried to make a point, each team we’ve been with, get connected with community,” Gibson said. “This is a big community, home for us for six months of the year, and I feel like we’ve been put in a spot to be able to help people, and that’s what we want to do.
“Elizabeth and I don’t do the work to try to get any nominations or any recognition. Honestly, for us, if we can get more publicity to the organizations that we work with and more eyes on them so other people can maybe have a connection with a cause that they’re passionate about, maybe find something in Baltimore or internationally or wherever they live that they can feel connected to is really our goal.”
Gibson is the vice president of Big League Impact, a nonprofit that helps MLB players make an impact on causes that are important to them. As part of his nomination, MLB will make a $7,500 donation to Big League Impact.
This season, Gibson launched an #ALLWIN campaign. Each of the right-hander’s strikeouts have prompted a donation to the Maryland Food Bank, totaling about $14,000 thus far. When the Orioles win, Gibson donates to the House of Ruth Maryland, supporting women escaping domestic violence. Teammates Cedric Mullins, Austin Hays and Tyler Wells have joined the campaign, with their efforts resulting in more than $35,000 in donations.
Last month, Gibson hosted two events benefiting Baltimore. “Swinging For Impact” allowed fans to play Topgolf with Orioles players while supporting City of Refuge Baltimore, which helps families and individuals in crisis. He also launched a fantasy football league in which fans could donate to play alongside the Orioles, with donations going to Help One Now.
Gibson said he’s particularly passionate about causes that help those with food insecurity, especially children. He said he’s been involved in events in Franklin County, Missouri — where he, Elizabeth and their four children live in the offseason — and Minnesota to support such efforts. He also noted he’s been involved since 2018 in the construction of a high school in Haiti.
“As kids, my wife and I, we were fortunate that we didn’t have to worry about where our next meal was coming from,” Gibson said. “And there’s just millions of kids every day that don’t have that same luxury, and they didn’t do anything to pick their circumstances. They didn’t do anything to pick their home. It’s just kind of how the birth lottery went for him. If they’re in a third-world country, they were born there for a reason, and if they’re here and struggling, they’re just in their environment. So anything that we can do to help families that are struggling to feed their kids is something that’s pretty on the forefront of our minds.”
During his 10-year career, Gibson has raised about $500,000 for the communities he’s played in, with Gibson being a member of the Twins, Texas Rangers and Phillies before signing a one-year contract with Baltimore. The Orioles will recognize Gibson with an on-field ceremony Sept. 15.
The league’s winner of the Roberto Clemente Award among the 30 team nominees will be announced during the World Series, with a portion of the process being a fan vote at mlb.com/community/roberto-clemente-award.
Eric Davis was the most recent Oriole to win league honor in 1997.
“[Gibson] does amazing work off the field, incredibly unselfish,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “Doesn’t surprise me at all. He is just a really good guy that’s unselfish in so many ways and cares about others and wants to give and wants to give back. Just a really special guy.”