Major League Baseball Team Re-signs Player FIVE YEARS After He Last Played So He Could Receive Health Insurance After Being Diagnosed With Schizophrenia
“It’s bigger than sports.”
Imagine how you’d feel if your former employer went out of their way to do something kind to you.
Or better still, that they continue to do good towards you, long after you stopped working for them.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have displayed an extraordinary arm of kindness towards an ex-player.
Former Major League outfielder Andrew Toles last played for the Dodgers in September of 2018.
Toles’ MLB career was relatively short, spanning just 96 games — all with Los Angeles. He hit .364 in the 2016 postseason and had begun the 2017 campaign on a strong note, before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament while trying to make a catch, missing the remainder of the 2017 season. He returned in 2018 playing 17 games before his off-field troubles forced him to call it a career.
Andrew Toles and the Los Angeles Dodgers: What the MLB Team is Doing to Help Him Off-Field
Despite last suiting up for a Major League game in 2018, the Dodgers have re-signed Toles to a contract every year since then to guarantee him to access to the team’s health insurance.
In early 2019, the Georgia native didn’t show up for spring training, citing he was dealing with a “personal issue”. The team later discovered that in addition to suffering from depression and anxiety, he had also been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
By the following year, the diseases had taken its toll on Toles who found himself homeless and sleeping behind a FedEx building at the Key West International Airport in Florida.
He was arrested and charged with trespassing and was taken to a mental health facility after the incident.
Alvin Toles — Andrew’s father — spoke to USA Today in 2021 and explained that Andrew was living in a “zombie-like” condition.
“We are having challenges,” Alvin said, “but nothing that God and I can’t handle. Schizophrenia, it’s just so tough. I mean, he can’t even watch TV. He hears voices and the TV at the same time, so it’s kind of confusing.”
Mr. Toles admits, “I’ve seen him looking at some baseball games on his laptop, but I don’t think he really understands what’s going on. I just want him to have a chance in life. That’s all. Just to be healthy and live a normal life.”
As of the start of the 2023 season — although he’s not being paid — he is still a member of the organization. This will be the fifth consecutive season that the franchise has kept Toles on the books as he battles his significant mental health issues.
Toles has been in more than 20 mental health facilities since 2019.
This ongoing act of kindness did not go unnoticed by former Dodgers pitcher Tom Koehler, who signed with the team in 2017, but injured his shoulder in spring training and was never able to pitch an inning for the team.
“I love this,” Koehler said on Twitter. “Saw it firsthand how they treated me when I could provide nothing for them. I am not surprised they are helping Andrew. It’s bigger than sports.”
Although Koehler never officially suited up for Los Angeles, the team still awarded him with a National League Championship ring. “A very classy gesture by a very classy group of people. I will be forever grateful,” wrote an appreciative Koehler on Instagram.
No act of kindness, no matter how big or how small, is ever wasted.