2019 Killebrew Award Winner - Jake Reed (Rochester Red Wings)
Image courtesy of Rochester Red WingsJake Reed was the Twins fifth-round pick in 2015 out of the University of Oregon. He quickly moved up the organizational ladder and reached Triple-A Rochester last in the 2016 season. He is still awaiting the opportunity to take the next step, the biggest step, up to the big leagues.
But Jake Reed is beloved in Rochester. That is especially true of the Red Wings general manager Dan Mason who noted, “Once again this year, Jake led our team in appearances, going to schools, corporate events, hospitals, community events, youth baseball clinics, a clinic for mentally challenged kids, and he helped host the the Challenger Baseball World Series here, featuring 10 different Challenger Baseball teams playing here at Frontier Field on a Saturday in June.”
As you can see from the list at the bottom, there have been some really terrific people who have come through Rochester and been recognized with this award. Lefty reliever Logan Darnell won the award the three seasons before Jake Reed won his first in 2018.
Mason continued, “The thing that separates Jake from some of the other players we’ve had here in the past is that he has built an amazing rapport with so many of the people whose lives he has touched in our town. At almost every home game I would see Challenger Baseball players coming over to him to say hello and getting a hug or a high five from him either before or after the game. So many of the kids in Challenger baseball program locally got to know him so well because every Saturday that we had a home game he would drive over to their field about 25 minutes from Frontier Field and spend hours , without ever telling any of us in the front office, pitching to the kids and helping them hit or wheeling them around the bases in their wheelchairs.“
Mason shared one story that certainly represents Reed and the impact he has on people’s lives. .
“One story that truly stands out to me is that earlier this year we had a mentally challenged youngster sing the National Anthem before a game. He knew Jake through Challenger Baseball. That particular game we were playing the Syracuse Mets and Tim Tebow was on their team. After the anthem was done the young man said to me, ‘Mr Mason, I really want to meet Tim Tebow. He’s my favorite. Can you get him over here so I can say hi?” I explained that I couldn’t do that as he was getting ready for the game, and that I couldn’t bother him as he was warming up. The young man replied …” I’m gonna talk to Jake about this.’ At that moment, Jake started walking toward us and waved out toward left field where Tebow was warming up. At that point, Tebow came running over to say hello to the young man, chatted with him, hugged him and took a few photos with him. Little did I know, but Jake knew that this young man’s favorite player was Tim Tebow, and he had arranged everything with Tebow prior to the game. This is the sort of unselfish act that Jake did on a daily basis. With little to no fanfare. He created countless memories for kids in our community throughout the season.”
Jake Reed has a very strong support system around him with his family, but also with his wife Janie Reed. Janie has been a member of Team USA softball and helped the team to a couple of gold medals this summer, including at the Pan Am Games.
Mason said, “When we hosted our first ever Women in Sports night, he even convinced his wife Janie, who was in town, to help run a pregame softball clinic for girls. Janie is a member of Team USA softball.”
As you have seen, the Twins and their minor league affiliates all take a ton of pride in their work in the communities in which they play.
“Every kid has boyhood idols. Tons and tons of young Minnesotans look up to and idolize Joe Mauer and other Twins players. Well, here in Rochester, New York, there is a huge segment of kids who idolize Jake Reed because they feel like he’s their friend, and he is. Jake is as genuine a person as you’ll ever meet and he doesn’t just do community activities and appearances because we asked him to, he does it because he wanted to.”
I was unable to reach Jake this week, but this is what he said last year when he received this award. “But getting this reward definitely reminded me of why God actually has me playing this game. It’s not about baseball. It really isn’t. It’s about loving and serving the people that you come into contact with, and the great thing about baseball is it gives us players plenty of opportunity to do so. I think men like Harmon Killebrew have set the example for us as far as what it looks like to be more than a baseball player.”
Minor league players don’t get many days off from games throughout the long season. They don’t get a ton of free time. That’s why we choose to recognize these Harmon KIllebrew Award winners who were chosen by their team for going above and beyond to serve their communities during the season.
Previous Red Wings Killebrew Award winners:
2011 - Kyle Gibson
2012 - JR Towles
2013 - Brian Dinkelman
2014 - Logan Darnell
2015 - Logan Darnell
2016 - Logan Darnell
2017 - DJ Baxendale
2018 - Jake Reed
Other 2019 Killebrew Award Recipients
Rochester Red Wings - Jake Reed
Pensacola Blue Wahoos - Hector Lujan
Fort Myers Miracle - Coming Soon
Cedar Rapids Kernels - Brian Rapp
Congratulations to Jake Reed on earning the 2019 Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service for the Rochester Red Wings.
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