Kyle Schwarber has had a whirlwind professional baseball career with the Chicago Cubs that he taken him from the minor leagues to World Series hero back to the minors and now as a part-time starter.
But the Middletown native has remembered his roots.
Last week, Schwarber, 24, in just his third year with the Cubs, hosted his inaugural Block Party at Revel Fulton Market in Chicago as part of his “Neighborhood Heroes” campaign. The event celebrated and honored Chicago’s first responders and raised more than $280,000, an amount that surprised Schwarber, he told a Chicago newspaper.
Schwarber, whose parents are Greg Schwarber, a retired Middletown police chief, and Donna, a nurse and former police dispatcher, has always said he understands the unique sacrifice first responders and their families make.
After graduating from Middletown High School in 2011, Schwarber said he knew he’d play baseball or enter the military.
Along with his parents, his sister, Lindsey Schwarber, who has been a Middletown police officer for four months after serving as a police reserve for three years, attended last week’s event with fellow Middletown officer Tony Gibson and canine officer Bear.
Lindsey Schwarber said it was “incredible” to attend an event where everyone was supportive of the military and first responders, especially considering the current climate.
“That was so great to see,” said Lindsey Schwarber, 28, who served in the Army National Guard for six years. “It was a very humbling experience.”
Lindsey Schwarber joked that Middletown’s canine officer — and not her brother — drew the most interest from fans at the party. She said people also enjoyed meeting her and her parents. Once they read the name tag on her uniform, they put “two and two together” and realized she was related to the Cubs slugger.
As part of his “Neighborhood Heroes” campaign, Schwarber recently visited Chicago Fire Department Engine 112 with his Dalmatian, Blu. He toured the fire station and grilled out brats in the garage. He also surprised the station with a 65-inch television and PlayStation.
This season has been a struggle for Schwarber, who became last year’s World Series hero when he went 7-for-17 with three walks as Chicago’s designated hitter and igniting the Series-deciding Game 7 rally over the Cleveland Indians by leading off the 10th inning with a single.
This season, Schwarber is hitting .209 with 138 strikeouts in 388 at-bats, but with power numbers: 26 homers and 51 RBIs.