Yesterday, we saw the Detroit Tigers select infielder Kody Clemens and RHP Angel De Jesus to the 40-man roster but infielder Niko Goodrum has elected free agency, which is a loss to the fans in more ways than just baseball.
When the Detroit Tigers signed Niko Goodrum to a minor league contract back in November 2017, it made sense. Former Tigers and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was familiar with his abilities when he was in the Twins farm system. The scouting report was he had position versatility and power potential. ($)
The switch-hitting Goodrum became the swiss knife in Gardenhire’s lineup. In 2018, he played left field, third base, first base, second, shortstop, and right field alone and continued to fill the role wherever he was needed. He was a great teammate and one fan was so much of his work, he named his Twitter handle after him.
But what he did not only for the Detroit community but stepping up to help out the people of Flint during the water crisis went above and beyond. It wasn’t a PR thing, he made a point to donate once a year. This started back in 2018 when he was in his first year with the Tigers. This quote from the story below sums it up best.
“It’s been cool but it’s also been an eye-opener, how big the problem still is, you see the cars that are wrapped around and they keep coming, sitting for hours just to get some bottles of water so you see how important it is,”
This year while recovering from an injury, he donated 275 cases of water to Flint once again for the third time in four years.
There is even a fan page on Facebook for his foundation, “do GOOD things” where recently, he was holding hitting clinics down in his native Georgia.
Evan Woodbery of Mlive.com does a great job describing his work with the organization, with this part of his article in the headline ($) “He deserves a tip of the cap as he departs”, which he deserves.
Often throughout Detroit Tigers history, we are always favorites of the underdog types who fans believe deserve more attention or they become their favorite player for reasons that go beyond batting average. Jim Walwander for the 1987 Tigers and Donnie Kelly in the mid-2010s. Those two were a part of Tigers teams in playoff contention while Goodrum played on some pretty bad Tigers teams. However, it should not diminish what he meant to the community and helping others.
This writer once questioned how long should Goodrum stick around at the beginning of the 2021 season, asking for patience for his bat. Wherever he ends up, Niko will continue to help out and you gotta continue to root for that giving back spirit.