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BOSTON—Pitcher Kyle Gibson has been a winner for the Orioles — on and off the field this season. Gibson leads the Orioles with 14 wins, a career high, and he’s tied with Toronto’s Chris Bassitt for the American League lead.
On Friday, Gibson was chosen by the Orioles as their nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award for his charitable works. It’s his third nomination. He was cited in 2019 with Minnesota and last season with Philadelphia.
This season, Gibson added events at Top Golf and a Fantasy Football draft to aid charities with which he’s long been involved.
“Elizabeth and I have tried to make a point, each team I’ve been with, get connected with community,” he said. “This is home to us for six months out of the year. I feel like we’ve been put in the spot to be able to help people, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
For the Gibsons, fighting youth hunger is vital.
“Feeding people is one. Anytime that we can have a feeding program, especially one that’s a backpack feeding program in schools, is important to us. We’ve been really involved in building a high school in Haiti.
“We have four kids of our own, and my wife and I, as kids, we were fortunate that we didn’t have to worry about where our next meal was coming from. There are millions of kids every day that don’t have that same luxury. They didn’t do anything to pick their circumstances. They didn’t do anything to pick their home. It’s just how the birth lottery went for them.”
Even though Gibson hasn’t pitched for the Twins since 2018, he’s still involved in a backpack meals program in Minnesota.
“They discreetly put a weekend’s worth of food in thousands of kids’ backpacks every week,” Gibson said. “It helps fill that gap from their last school lunch on Friday to breakfast at school on Monday … They can show up to school, they can do better at school. They can feel like they’re getting more out of their education.”
Gibson and his wife are spiritual people, and believe in helping.
“The root of it is in my faith, how I was brought up. Not that you have to have faith to do good things, I don’t think that’s it, but I think it’s important for my family and Elizabeth’s family doing community service in our church.”
On the field, Gibson is 14-9 with a 5.12 earned-run average. Last Wednesday, he beat the Los Angeles Angels for his 14th win.
“Setting my career high is not necessarily important. I think it’s a cool thing to do, anytime you set a career high,” he said.
Manager Brandon Hyde has enjoyed having Gibson on the team.
“Kyle’s been an amazing mentor to our young pitching staff. He takes the ball every fifth day,” Hyde said. “He’s done a great job in our clubhouse with our young pitchers with our team in general. He’s got a ton of energy in the dugout during the game.
“He’s a really good guy that’s unselfish in so many ways and cares about others and wants to give and wants to give back. He’s a special guy.”
Gibson played on one team, last year’s Phillies, that made it to the World Series. He’d like to play on another.
“This season’s been pretty special for me for a lot of reasons. I tend to get quite a bit of offense when I’m on the mound, so that’s a good thing,” he said. “I’ve kept the team in the game more games than not, even though there are some that haven’t gone the way I’ve envisioned them to go.”
Hyde is both old school and new school and still thinks that even though pitchers such as Félix Hernández and Jacob deGrom have won Cy Young Awards with uninspiring win/loss records, wins still matter
“I still think there’s something to be said about pitching with the lead and getting a win out of it,” he said. “There is some luck involved. You have to pitch well to have that many wins. You have to pitch well with a lead, and he’s done a great job with that this year.”
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