“Niagara Falls”- this cliché statement describing the flow of tears is the perfect descriptor for my eyes after hearing about this story. I am sure it could also describe the flow of emotions experienced by MLB star Jack Hannahan and his wife Jenny after their son Johnny was born on August 5th, almost three months premature.
Johnny only weighed two pounds and eleven ounces at birth, which required an emergency Caesarean section due to complications during pregnancy. Although Baby Johnny will have to stay in the hospital until the middle of October, Hannahan says “he’s eating well, gaining weight, breathing on his own and showing signs that he will develop into a healthy boy.” All of this news is emotionally overwhelming, however, as the story unfolds, you will realize the sequence of events that occurred in order to get Hannahan to his wife to witness the birth of his son is even more impressive.
After a game against the Red Sox, the Indians travel secretary informed Jack that Jenny had gone into labor back in Cleveland. Jack was 640 miles from home. The next commercial flight from Boston to Cleveland was at 6:00 a.m. the next day. Clearly, that was not going to get him there in time. Jack wrestled with the fact that he was going to miss the birth of his son. Private flights, at about $35,000, were just too expensive for a player who’s due to be a free agent and with a baby on the way.
However, fellow teammates Justin Masterson, Shin-Soo Choo, Travis Hafner, Chad Durbin and Austin Kearns came to his aid and crammed into the small visitors room at Fenway Park to work on options. In a matter of a couple of hours, they found a private jet that would take him back to Cleveland.
Meanwhile, Jack’s wife, Jenny, was in labor back in Cleveland. Jack was very worried about her and the survival of his child who had been through a rough road during the pregnancy. He did not want to support his wife over the phone, he needed to be there in person.
With the price tag well out of his range, every teammate on the Indians roster contributed money toward the private jet fund to get Jack to his wife to be there for the birth of his first child. $35,000, in total, from all of his teammates!
Ordinarily, Jack isn’t the kind of guy to accept this kind of gift, but teammate Justin Masterson convinced him to accept. “We convinced him, it wasn’t ONE guy. Every single person threw in to help. That’s pretty impressive. Young and old, everyone threw in,” said Masterson.
Having already done a story on the Indians and their giving nature with the “Fill the House Nights,” it does not surprise us that the players know when to step forward to help their fellow teammates. Here at The Good in Sports, we are extremely impressed with this act of kindness and give the Cleveland Indians a Gold Star for their willingness to step up. The Indians continue to prove they’re a classy organization.
- For more information on this story, check out this article.
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