ST. LOUIS -- The World Baseball Classic had a profound influence on baseball as an international entity, but the real impact was felt off the field in the form of a large charitable effort.
An extremely generous portion of the inaugural event's proceeds was donated to Habitat for Humanity during a ceremony on the field of Busch Stadium prior to Game 3 of the World Series.
Baseball ambassador Tommy Lasorda, Players Association COO Gene Orza, Major League Baseball President & COO Bob DuPuy and several Cardinals and Tigers players who participated in this year's World Baseball Classic presented a check for $1.2 million to Habitat for Humanity International to build new homes for victims of the hurricanes that devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005.
The donation will support the construction of 16 homes, representing the 16 competing countries and territories that participated in the inaugural World Baseball Classic. The homes are expected to be completed by the 2007 World Series.
There are 11 players on 2006 World Series rosters who participated in the inaugural World Baseball Classic. The Tigers were represented by Jason Grilli (Italy), Carlos Guillen (Venezuela), Todd Jones (United States), Placido Polanco (Dominican Republic), Magglio Ordonez (Venezuela), Fernando Rodney (Dominican Republic) and Ivan Rodriguez (Puerto Rico). Playing from the Cardinals were Ronnie Belliard (Dominican Republic), Juan Encarnacion (Dominican Republic), Yadier Molina (Puerto Rico) and Albert Pujols (Dominican Republic).
Those players presented the check from World Baseball Classic Inc. to Scott Anderson, senior director of corporate programs for Habitat for Humanity International.
Players and coaches from the two World Baseball Classic finalists, Team Japan and Team Cuba, visited a Habitat home build site outside of PETCO Park in San Diego during the tournament's final weekend in March. This three-home build was an extension of the year-long commitment made by Major League Baseball and its players in support of the efforts to rebuild the Gulf Coast region.
"The inaugural World Baseball Classic brought together fans and players from across the globe to celebrate the greatest game in the world," said Commissioner Bud Selig. "Through this donation to Habitat for Humanity International, World Baseball Classic Inc. expresses a deep commitment and strong sense of responsibility to help communities worldwide."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.