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Receiving yards for Cowboys’ Amari Cooper during Sunday’s 29-23 win over Eagles

Ruiz is a true hero

Posted by Eric Fisher On May 31

The true test of fame and fortune is what you do with it.

There’s nothing wrong with sitting back and enjoying fame and fortune. But some rise above and beyond by using their fame and fortune to benefit others.

Some of the rich and famous help by writing checks. Others go one step further by becoming personally involved.

Carlos Ruiz does both. He is everything we should want in a sports hero.

Ruiz had four hits Friday night as the Phillies defeated the Mets in 14 innings, 6-5. He caught all 14 innings (and, hopefully, will get the day off Saturday). But that’s not why he was a hero Friday.

Ruiz was a hero because of his pregame meeting with 6-year-old Aiden Riebel, who is battling Stage 4 cancer.

Friday wasn’t the first time Ruiz met Riebel. Last November, when Riebel was being sworn in as an honorary fireman at the Washington Township Fire Department, Ruiz made a surprise appearance. After meeting Riebel, Ruiz pressed for a follow-up meeting.

That meeting came Friday when Aiden and his older brother, Max, went to the Phillies-Mets game. On the way to the game, the family informed Aiden he would be seeing Ruiz again.

When the brothers, both wearing autographed Ruiz jerseys, arrived to watch batting practice, Ruiz, according to mlb.com, ran toward Aiden, hopped over the divider and gave him a big hug.

No wonder Aiden says Ruiz is his favorite player.

Ruiz is the favorite player of a lot of fans. He doesn’t receive the accolades of Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins or (at least in the past) Ryan Howard, but he’s quietly been the rock of the Phillies’ foundation.

Ruiz sometimes flies below the radar. His English is limited, so he rarely makes the news because of anything he says. Instead, Ruiz lets his actions due to the talking. And his actions, on and off the field, speak volumes about the Phillies catcher.

Since making his Phillies debut in 2006, Ruiz is batting a solid .275. His numbers, except for 2012 (16 homers, .325 average), aren’t spectacular, but they’re consistent. Ruiz has developed a well-earned reputation for getting hits when it matters most, which is why he was given the moniker “Senor October.”

There may not be October baseball for the Phillies this year. But Senor October has been transformed into Mr. May.

Six days prior to his follow-up meeting with Aiden, Ruiz was involved with a rescue mission in Panama. Following a win over the Dodgers on Saturday, Ruiz found out that some of his friends in Panama were missing after their boat had capsized.

What could Ruiz do from 2,000 miles away? He provided money for boats, airplanes and helicopters to be used in search-and-rescue efforts.

His friends were all found, with the third one spending close to 40 hours in the water before he was rescued.

His friends literally owe their lives to Ruiz. We owe him our appreciation.

In the midst of the Donald Sterling controversy, drug suspensions and domestic violence stories which pollute the sports world, it’s refreshing to hear heartwarming stories about athletes like Ruiz.

We are blessed to have Ruiz, a true hero, playing in our town.

I know Aiden Riebel, and countless other fans who consider Carlos Ruiz their favorite Phillie, would agree.

 

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