Sweet Home Chicago

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Curtis Granderson, Outfielder / New York Mets - The Players' Tribune

My baseball career has taken me from Detroit to New York City, but in my heart, I’ll always be a Chicago guy.

I grew up outside Chicago, where my parents were both public-school teachers. I went to the University of Illinois at Chicago and still live just blocks from campus in the offseason. In 2012, we developed Curtis Granderson Stadium at UIC, a $10 million initiative that provides a safe place for Chicago’s youth to play the game I love. Over the holidays, while my Grand Kids Foundation hosted our annual Grand Giving initiative — a month-long campaign to end hunger — I went on a tour of some of the places in the city that made me who I am.

Here’s a look at my hometown of Chicago.

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As a family, we give thanks before every meal.
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It all started here … Little League Baseball. I always appreciate that my parents have “print photos” from every moment of my youth.
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Not much has changed at my former middle school.
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My biggest supporters from the very beginning.
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My former classmate is now the head of the class.
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One of my greatest achievements is the development of the Grand Kids Foundation and our ability to support youth from my hometown, and beyond.
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I credit much of my success to the lessons learned within these walls.
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Much has changed since my days as a student at T.F. South.
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Like every other kid in the 90s, I wanted to be Michael Jordan.
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The field at T.F. South High School looks a lot different than it did when I played here.
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Had a chance to stop by Roots Pizza. Chicago deep dish or New York style?
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I think I should stick to baseball …
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Meet our Grand Kids from the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s Kids Cafe program.
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Every year, during Grand Giving, I invite our Grand Kids participants to help me grocery shop at Mariano’s.
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Half the battle is nutritional education. It’s important to educate our nation’s youth about the importance of making healthy decisions.
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Our Grand Kids got to “check out to help out” at Mariano’s as part of our Grand Giving initiative to end hunger.
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It’s surreal to have a stadium with my name on it, but this place still feels the same way it did over a decade ago.
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It feels good to be home.
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Our Grand Kids Ambassadors, including the UIC Baseball team, revving up for our annual indoor youth baseball clinic.
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Baseball is still just as fun today as it was when I first started. Our only goal during our Grand Kids youth clinics: “Don’t think. Have fun.”
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Angels in the infield.
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We’re teaching more than baseball. We’re teaching kids that hard work and dedication will never fail you.
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What most people don’t realize is that more often than not, these kids teach us more than we teach them.
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After every activity, we bring it in.
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Who’s ready to have some fun?
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My favorite part of every Grand Kids camp is the Q&A, when I open the floor for the kids to ask me any question they want.

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