For Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer, you’re never too young to give back

Tampa Bay Rays ace pitcher Chris Archer went seven innings giving up just two runs as the Rays defeated the Yankees 7-3 on opening day.  Archer season gets off to a great start, unlike last year where he struggled a bit and the Rays failed to give him run support.

The below article was written about Archer in January and talks more about Archer the person.

Raleigh, NC – In talking to Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer, you forget that he’s just 28.

The Clayton, NC native, who also spent three seasons with the Rays Triple A affiliate the Durham Bulls, hosted his 4th annual Night of Champions via his Archway Foundation Saturday at the Sheraton Raleigh Hotel. Archer teamed with Starting Right Now of Tampa to help end homelessness among children.

The night was a success as the room was packed to hear Archer and Starting Right Now founder/executive director Vicki Sokolik speak as well as one of the young men who came through the program who recently graduated college.

The action and silent auctions also helped to raise money for both foundations.

“We shared our new vision and I was extremely pleased with the way things went,” said Archer. “It starts with one child and this is something we want to go national with.”

While called up to the Rays in 2012, Archer got the idea of starting the Archway Foundation by reading the book The Alchemist, which as he said in part dealt with your personal legend.  He began to think about his life and baseball and wanting to be successful but also wanting to give back.

“There’s more to life than sports,” said Archer, who now makes his home in Tampa. “I can use this sport as a platform to positively impact as many people as I can.”

From there with help from friends and family, he created the Archway Foundation.  In the beginning, the foundation focused on funding a couple of baseball teams to help children learn lessons through baseball and to ease the burden of parents having to pay for equipment.

The foundation still partially funds one team, but “4-6 months ago” he and the foundation’s board decided to put most of its focus on ending youth homelessness.

“Even beyond the finances, we want people who care [about youth homelessness].  “We are making a strong push and we need the help of the community.  We want to make a national push.”

Archer is very committed to this endeavor and his Archway Foundation.  While he is one of the really good young pitchers in the league, he’s in the midst of a six-year, $25.5 million contract that will pay him $4.75 million in 2017.  That’s paltry compared to what some players of lesser ability are making.  He pledged to match the money that was made at the Night of Champions.

Athletics and baseball is always something that Archer excelled at.  During his junior year, he wasn’t a highly recruited baseball player.  It wasn’t until he went to a showcase in Maryland before his senior season, that colleges really began to notice him.

As a senior at Clayton High School, he committed to the University of Miami, but was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the fifth round of the 2006 MLB Draft.  He decided that baseball was his future, but had worked into his contract that if baseball did not pan out, the Indians would pay for him to go to school and get his degree.

In 2011, he was traded to the Rays and initially played for the Double A Montgomery Biscuits. He made two starts for the Bulls at the end of the season. By 2013 he was full-time with the Rays and in 2015 had a breakout year, being named to the All-Star Game and finishing fifth in the American League Cy Young Award voting.

Archer’s success has come with some challenges.  Last season, Archer got off to a slow first-half of the season, posting a 4.66 ERA.  He rebounded to finish second in the American League with 233 strikeouts.  He went 9-19 with a 4.02 ERA.  His run support was low at 3.48.

He’s also had to hear about trade rumors during the offseason.

“I’ll be honest with you, it’s tough because we do so much for the city, for the organization,” Archer said on his recent appearance on FROM THE PRESS BOX TO PRESS ROW w/ Donal Ware.  “But you have to step back and realize it is a business.  I’m happy that I’m still here because we made a couple of nice moves that I thinks are going to propel us in 2017.”

Still, he was also selected to play for USA Baseball in the World Baseball Classic in March.

“I’m fired up,” said Archer, who just completed his fifth season with the Rays. “Usually [in March] we’re going through the same spring training routine.  It’s not everyday you get 25 All-Stars in the same room.”

For more information on the Archway Foundation click here to log onto the organization’s Website.

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