CHICAGO - White Sox pitcher Jeff Samardzija visited elementary schools in Valparaiso, Indiana, on Friday morning to personally invite students to a 2015 White Sox game.
The Merrillville, Indiana, native distributed ticket vouchers and donated framed signed jerseys during a visit at several Valparaiso schools. A total of 7,500 ticket vouchers were distributed to students in the Valparaiso school district.
"I'm fortunate to work close to my hometown and am happy to be here, giving back to the kids," said Samardzija. "We're trying to promote baseball to young kids and where is a better place to start than my hometown?"
One of the schools was his late mother Debora's former workplace for 10 years - Thomas Jefferson Elementary, which has a memorial garden named in her memory.
"I have a lot of fond memories here. It seems like yesterday that I was running around these halls after school; I'd sit in my mom's office and eat all of her candy," continued Samardzija.
"It's awesome that Jeff can come back to his community and give back to all of the kids," said David Muniz, principal of Thomas Jefferson Elementary. "I know the kids are very appreciative of everything they get. It's an honor that they get to go to a White Sox game. It's an inspiration to the kids and to the community."