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Indians teammates ponied up $35,000 so Jack Hannahan could be at son’s birth

Aug 18, 2011, 10:15 AM EDT

Texas Rangers v Cleveland Indians Getty Images

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has a great story about Indians utility man Jack Hannahan.

Two weeks ago Hannahan’s wife went into labor with the couple’s first child nearly three months before her October 26 due date. Hannahan and Indians director of team travel Mike Seghi worked on finding a last-minute flight from Boston to Cleveland, but there was nothing until the next morning.

They looked into booking a private jet, but when Hannahan–who’s earning $500,000 after spending nine seasons in the minors–saw the $50,000 price tag he decided just to take the regular flight in the morning … until his teammates chimed in.

“Everybody on this team, young and old, put something together to help Hannie out,” Justin Masterson told Hoynes. “[Austin] Kearns, [Travis] Hafner, [Shin-Soo] Choo, we all said ‘He needs to be there.’ That how all the guys felt.”

When everyone was done kicking in some money they had collected $35,000. And so Hannahan booked the private jet, flew to Cleveland, and arrived at the hospital 15 minutes before his son was born at 3:11 am.

John Joseph Hannahan V weighed just two pounds, 12 ounces and is expected to remain in the hospital until October, but Hannahan called him “a little miracle” and said he’s “been doing great in the hospital.”

  1. Old Gator - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    Good for the Tribe. Good for the Hannahans. The sports news in Macondo has been relentlessly awful, so a feelgood story from anywhere is much appreciated.

    • jimeejohnson - Aug 18, 2011 at 12:56 PM

      Macondo is a fictional town described in Gabriel García Márquez’s novel One Hundred Years of Solitude. Your posts are consistently intelligent and interesting. Thanks.

      • Old Gator - Aug 18, 2011 at 2:28 PM

        Many years later, as he sat before his typewriter, Gabriel Garcia Marques was to remember that distant afternoon when his travel agent booked him into a South Beach hotel….Macondo is not so much a place as a state of mind. When Garcia Marquez wrote that book, he may, as he claims, have been thinking about his grandmother’s “stone faced” storytelling style, but personally, I think he was writing about south Florida. If you doubt that, live here for a year or two.

      • indaburg - Aug 18, 2011 at 3:30 PM

        Living in Florida, I concur. South Florida, especially Miami, is most definitely a “Macondo.”

        Nice story.

  2. klbader - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    It is nice to hear a story about team chemistry that is actually meaningful. So much of the team chemistry stories revolve around the team “coming together” or keeping things “in the locker room.” Nice to see his teammates help out and get him home to see the birth of his soon. This is one of those rare stories where the team=family meme actually seems real.

    • jimbo1949 - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:39 AM

      Kid’s got a whole bunch of godfathers.

  3. Bill - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    Great story, but “his first full season as a big leaguer”? I mean, the 2008 A’s (for whom he was the everyday third baseman) weren’t good, but I’m pretty sure they still qualified as a big-league team. :)

  4. veryindifferent - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    This is beyond awesome.

  5. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    This is a great story. I love these kinds of stories where teammates care about each other enough to do stuff like this. Sadly, there’s usually only one of these for every 10 “This guy hates this guy” or “This guy punched this guy” stories that comes along.

  6. The Common Man - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    That’s terrific. Good for the Indians. While certain trolling Rangers columnists might accuse Hannahan of failing his team for not being with them during the birth of his son, it’s clear how baseball players themselves feel.

    • Jonny 5 - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:38 AM

      It’s just a matter of time before someone says this is a travesty and claim ball players should never take off for this, they failed the team, failed the fans, etc….. Which kind of makes my skin crawl. Although, with the whole premature thing thrown into the mix it’ll take such a low life form to be able to type it we all may be in for a treat and not have to see it after all. I hope.

      • jimeejohnson - Aug 18, 2011 at 12:51 PM

        Totally agree.

  7. sknut - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    Thats cool and shows how players do have real priorities and understand the big picture.

  8. kellyb9 - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:43 AM

    Great story, kind of suprised he didn’t think about just jumping in a car and driving it. It’s 11 hours according to google maps… seems drive-able.

    • Panda Claus - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:52 AM

      He made it with only 15 minutes to spare, so driving wouldn’t have worked out.

      $50K for a private flight that only travels about 550 miles seems excessive. That’s better than $90 per mile traveled.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:52 AM

      Considering that he flew and still only made it with about 15 minutes to spare, I doubt he would have made it had he driven the 11 hours.

      • kellyb9 - Aug 18, 2011 at 12:06 PM

        True – but at the same point, he was battling with the idea of simply waiting till tomorrow and taking a flight out first thing in the morning.

    • takemytalentstosoutheuclid - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:54 AM

      This happened after a night game at Fenway. No chance he makes the 3:11am birth if he drives.

    • Utley's Hair - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:55 AM

      First, good on the Indian players for rallying behind a teammate. Stuff like that makes you have a bit more faith in humanity.

      But my thought when I saw that he decided to wait for the morning flight was why not drive? And there are no other airports up in that area? Or New York? I don’t think three weeks early labor would probably last that long, would it?

      Also, is the organization going to do anything? It would seem like good PR. At least repay Austin Kearns’ since they dropped him and all…

      • kopy - Aug 18, 2011 at 11:13 AM

        There are plenty of airports in the area, but there are really just no flights that leave at night. Unless a flight is delayed, it’s pretty much impossible to find any flight in the US that departs between 10pm-5am.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 18, 2011 at 11:29 AM

        Unless you are out west traveling east on the red eye, losing 3 hours in the process, and getting to your destination 8 or 9 hours later instead of the 5 to 6 hours of flight time. Going West, the latest is usually only 9pm otherwise you won’t be arriving at the airport until after midnight and they like to close up between 12 and 5 am.

    • thefalcon123 - Aug 18, 2011 at 12:16 PM

      That’s 11 hours minus stopping for food, pee breaks, traffic, exhaustion, ect. It would take much, much longer than 11 hours.

      • Utley's Hair - Aug 18, 2011 at 1:32 PM

        As opposed to an unknown amount of time for the labor, and a definite minimum number of hours that you know you’d have to wait if you stuck around until the next flight?

        (And I meant three MONTHS early above—I don’t know where weeks came from.)

      • 1historian - Aug 18, 2011 at 4:52 PM

        Google assumes that you are driving at the legal speed limit. It’s 4 lane all the way on U.S. 90 – Just get on the Mass Turnpike and go. Gas up before you get into New York because gas goes way up there.
        If you have someone to help you it can be done if the cops don’t catch you.

        When I’m on the road out there I set it at 60 put it in cruise control at 60 and cars just fly by.

  9. Cris E - Aug 18, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    This was in the St Paul paper last weekend. The facts were a little different ($35000, no traveling secretary) but it’s essentially the same story and Masterson comes out as quite a guy. It’s still an awesome story regardless of the details.

    My kids are all excited because Jennie taught them kindergarten and she’s always been a favorite.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 18, 2011 at 11:31 AM

      Waters story made for better print, but I wonder which one was actually what happened…probably a little bit of both.

  10. seattlej - Aug 18, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    Good for Jack Hannahan and all — and I really do mean that. It’s great that he got to witness the birth of his son. But I just don’t find a story about a collection of millionaires ponying up cash so that another millionaire can rent a private plane (no matter the purpose) as touching as others, I suppose. Obviously it’s their money and they can do whatever the hell they want with it, but geez, if they have that much free cash laying around, I hope that they’re also doing something meaningful with it (besides buying the newest Escalade).

    • mianfr - Aug 18, 2011 at 12:21 PM

      There is a very good chance that Jack Hannahan isn’t a millionaire.

      • mianfr - Aug 18, 2011 at 12:23 PM

        And unless you’re one of the elite players in the league, really, with the corresponding salary to boot, it’s really not ever a good idea to fly in a private jet, unless obviously one of these types of situations occur.

        So yeah, it’s a very nice story.

      • JBerardi - Aug 18, 2011 at 2:41 PM

        Baseball Reference has his career earnings at $811,500. If he’s a millionaire, he’s one hell of a savvy investor.

      • seattlej - Aug 18, 2011 at 4:54 PM

        Do the math. He’s been up and down since 2006. Has spent most of three seasons in the majors (all of 2008, most of 2009, all of 2011). Unless he’s pissing his money away on god-knows-what, he’s a millionaire. And even if he isn’t quite a millionaire, he’s very, very well off by U.S. standards.

        Regardless, my point isn’t to trash Jack Hannahan, who by all accounts is a great guy, or the Indians that paid for the flight. I’m just stating that I really hope that they’re supporting other good causes with their abundance of cash since they obviously have enough on hand to buy each other lavish gifts. That’s all.

      • Utley's Hair - Aug 18, 2011 at 5:09 PM

        By your logic, a guy who works 20 years for 50k is a millionaire.

      • seattlej - Aug 18, 2011 at 5:47 PM

        I’m not sure where you’re figuring that out from… and I’m pretty shocked that I spent the 10 minutes to looks this up. But anyway, according to Cot’s, he’s made about $1.7M over the past four years ($395K, $410, $416.5 and $500). He also received a $470K signing bonus when he was drafted. Again, unless he’s spending at a phenomenal rate, I think it’s probably safe to say that he’s a millionaire. This isn’t your average Joe slaving away at $50K/year for 20 years.

        But again, my point isn’t really whether he is or isn’t a millionaire and you’re just nit-picking at this point. Unfortunately for me though, I feel compelled to correct ignorance when I come across it.

      • clydeserra - Aug 18, 2011 at 6:13 PM

        I am not sure what numbers to believe. He gets his major league salary when he is in the majors, he gets at most 60K while in AAA.

        Your $1.7 figure does not include club house fees that he has had to pay, union dues he has had to pay, agent fees that he has had to pay rent on two or three residences he has had to maintain, or a little thing I like to refer to as “taxes.”

        Let alone food and clothing.

      • Utley's Hair - Aug 18, 2011 at 6:27 PM

        And exactly in what tax bracket would he fall with your numbers? And you do know that some people don’t have access to all of their funds, right? Not all assets are liquid. Maybe—perish the thought, I know—a good deal of his pay has been tied up elsewhere, but that would fly in the face of your theory of him pissing away his money, wouldn’t it?

      • seattlej - Aug 18, 2011 at 6:51 PM

        clydeserra, thank you for a reasonable response. I don’t mind people telling me that I’m wrong, but I appreciate a reasoned explanation as to why. For what it’s worth, it appears based on the way that Cot’s has them listed that the last several contracts that he’s signed have been major league contracts. This means that they’re guaranteed and that he’s paid the amount of the contract whether he’s in the majors or minors.

        But again, we’re nit-picking here. If he’s not a millionaire, then he’s quite close.

        Either way, the point of my original post was that he has lots of money. And the guys that gave him the money also have lots of money. It was a nice gesture. But again, I hope that all these people with lots of money make other nice gestures. And hopefully some of those nice gestures are to people that don’t have a lot of money. I don’t really see what’s wrong with that.

    • Utley's Hair - Aug 18, 2011 at 1:35 PM

      Just in case you missed this section of the post, I’ll paste it down here for you:

      “They looked into booking a private jet, but when Hannahan–who’s earning $500,000 after spending nine seasons in the minors–saw the $50,000 price tag he decided just to take the regular flight in the morning … until his teammates chimed in.”

      So…it would appear that he is not a millionaire—at least not from baseball anyway.

      • seattlej - Aug 18, 2011 at 5:03 PM

        I didn’t miss the section, as I am capable of basic reading comprehension. But I did kind of ignore it since it’s incorrect. He’s been up and down (mostly up) since 2007.

        When you’re trying to be condescending (as it appears you are… though it’s pretty damn hard to tell on a message board, so my apologies if you weren’t), you should at least check the facts.

      • Utley's Hair - Aug 18, 2011 at 5:43 PM

        Whether you intended it or not, your condescension came through loud and clear.

        If I’m not mistaken, contracts—even MLB-minimum contracts—fluctuate annually, so I’m guessing that he hasn’t made 500k each of those years. Besides, it would be prorated against time spent in the minors. Do you have a majority of what you made the first three or four years that you were in the workforce?

        (I’m not going to touch your statement about what these guys should be doing with their own money.)

      • seattlej - Aug 18, 2011 at 6:04 PM

        Again… instead of throwing out “I think” or “maybe” or “if I’m not mistaken”, just go check the facts. See what you find. If you’re going to try to be condescending on a message board and tell someone that they’re wrong, at least check the facts and make sure that you’re right first. That’s all I ask.

      • Utley's Hair - Aug 18, 2011 at 6:06 PM

        No, that was me returning your condescension in kind.

      • clydeserra - Aug 18, 2011 at 6:15 PM

        How about this. Utley’s hair is not mistaken Major league minimum and the 2nd and thirs year minimum is different every year.

      • seattlej - Aug 18, 2011 at 6:21 PM

        That’s fine, but when you tell someone they’re wrong, you should at least check to see if you’re right. Otherwise, you just sound like a politician.

      • pjmarn6 - Aug 18, 2011 at 6:24 PM

        You forget taxes 35%, agent 10% living expenses, etc. And, I desperately hope his son lives, but 2 pounds means a lot of doctors and medical expenses and that is going to be very expensive. If he is able to compete in the major leagues and make some money, then yes a millionaire. He would be very lucky to have $500,000 liquidity right now and even less if he is in the market.

      • Utley's Hair - Aug 18, 2011 at 6:56 PM

        Okay. No more condescension from me on this. I don’t assume anything on here.

        In my first post (which had no intentional condescension), I just pointed out that he is making 500k this year, and that it was in the original post. The cost of the flight is tagged at about 10% of his salary this year. Judging by the fact that his son was being born three months early, he was justified in bristling at the cost.

        My reply to your comment about my first post was filled with condescension because yours got me rankled. However, I will be—and have been quite often—the first to admit when I don’t know something. Sometimes, I express that by asking questions to anyone reading the blog/thread in question. (I will admit that if I get pissed off at someone, the condescension can be quite prevalent, but that seems to be human nature around here.)

    • IdahoMariner - Aug 18, 2011 at 2:52 PM

      I agree that if a player is making big money, I hope he’s doing some good with the cash.

      But according to the article, only Travis Hafner is “making big money” on that team:

      “I’m very proud of them, especially being a young team,” Acta said. “You’re talking about a team where a bunch of guys are making the major-league minimum or barely over that. For them to be so unselfish and do all that, that’s what is going to make this special for years to come.”

      So, yeah, I wish I was making 500K a year, but I could see that it still is a great thing to give a friend/teammate 5K or so, when you realize a lot of these guys who are making league minimum aren’t sure if they will even be in the big leagues next year, so their income might drop a lot, so it would be smart not to go tossing cash around. But they ponied up for their friend, and that’s really cool.

      Cooler still, that they definitively put the lie to that loser down in Dallas who thinks players shouldn’t get time off for such things because “it lets the team down.” Clearly, the players and the manager and the team (given that the travel guy was helping him) all think that this is a great reason to take time off, and no one felt like they were being let down.

      • pjmarn6 - Aug 18, 2011 at 6:30 PM

        Sounds like a very intelligent man. Even though he desperately wanted to be with his wife, he realized $50,000 is a huge amount of money. Just saw his stats and at .218 batting average, he better hang on to every penny he has.

  11. dramah - Aug 18, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    While a great story as a whole, sad to see the Indians as an organization drop the ball in helping out one of its employees in a time of need. $50,000 is a drop in the bucket to a major league sports team. Great job to players, shame on you organization.

  12. 1historian - Aug 18, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    Whatever – this is a nice story.

  13. browniebuck - Aug 18, 2011 at 5:41 PM

    something tells me that the team isn’t allowed to pay for the private flight…

    And…Jack Hannahan has played the last 3 seasons, for the most part, at the Major League level. Regardless of how much money he has made or what he has done with it…he was trying to be smart with how he spends his money as he knows that he won’t be signing an A-Rod type contract any time soon and wants to make sure that he has money to live comfortably with his wife and newborn son for years to come.

    The fact that some people question the generosity of his teammates just baffles me. Can’t we just be happy that there is a good story about athletes out there right now while we watch all of the Hurricane garbage, Terrell Pryor stupidity, and dumb comments that “were taken out of context” by Michael Vick?

  14. barklikeadog - Aug 18, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    Get a room f ags. Holy crap!

    • Utley's Hair - Aug 18, 2011 at 7:44 PM

      You’re a homophobic idiot.

  15. barklikeadog - Aug 18, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    I thought u said no more condescending comments on this. Get a life!

    • Utley's Hair - Aug 18, 2011 at 7:56 PM

      That’s not condescension, moron.

  16. barklikeadog - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:39 PM

    At least I got u to say something in less than 4 paragraphs! 😉

  17. macjacmccoy - Aug 19, 2011 at 3:04 AM

    One of the best non baseball, baseball stories I have read in a while. That shows what a good club house they have in Cleveland and why they have suprised so many and played so well this year. There’s something to be said about team chemistry and its effect on performance. Guys just want to give more to people they like. Which is why the Cubs shouldnt bring back Big Z he isnt good for the team and his loss on the field will be made up by his loss in the club house.

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