DR hometown never far from Soriano's mind

Rafael Soriano, P, Nationals
Hometown: Boca Chica, Dominican Republic

Rafael Soriano grew up with little besides his seven siblings and single mother. Then, when he was old enough to turn a childhood passion into a ticket to a better life, he took it.

At the age of 16, Soriano signed with the Mariners in 1996 for a $5,000 bonus to pursue his dream of becoming a Major League outfielder. (Seattle turned him into a pitcher two lackluster seasons later.)

Soriano does what he can to better the lives of people back home in Boca Chica, from buying Christmas gifts for poor children to paying for the back surgery for a boy who desperately needed it.

"I always try to help people in the area," Soriano told ESPN in 2012. "It's one of the things that makes me feel good. When that happens, I feel a calmness and a peace."

Tim Healey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.