The New York Yankees have been on a tear this year on the field, bursting out of the gate to a 28-12 record with their stable of young, exciting players. More recently, it’s been the organization’s actions off the field that have garnered national attention. According to The New York Times, the organization has quietly been sending flowers to police departments across the country over the course of the past three years to comfort them in the wake of a fellow officer being killed. What started out as a show of support for local NYPD officers, has expanded to include departments throughout the United States.
“Actually, the gesture grew from something the Yankees have done for decades — sending flowers to the funerals of officers killed in the New York metropolitan area. But one day in 2015, Sonny Hight, a former detective in the New York Police Department who is a Yankees vice president and the chief security officer, heard about a police officer killed in another state. Hight said he did not now remember the episode, the city or the date, only that he was moved to act.”
The story first caught local attention in December of last year when an officer from the Baltimore police department posted a photo of flowers the Yanks sent to the department following the death of detective Sean Suiter. Then, in April of this year, the Police Department in Yarmouth, Massachusetts received a similar bouquet of flowers also with a note from the Yankees.
According to the Times, the goal for the team is to deliver flowers to the funerals or stations of every officer that is killed in action nationwide. However, that can be tough to keep up with given the number of officers that die in the line of duty each year.
The gesture is one that late owner George Steinbrenner likely would have approved of as the Times notes that Steinbrenner started a foundation with a similar idea behind it back in the 1980’s.
“In 1982, Steinbrenner helped create the Silver Shield Foundation, which provides money for educational support to the families of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty, and the flowers are an extension of the same ethos.”
The Yankees don’t know how many flowers they have sent out, but the piece notes that the officers and departments that are the recipients of the kind gesture are touched by the outreach.