Builder Naehring a Model Citizen
By Gordon Edes, Globe Staff. Boston Globe, 4/20/97.
If the Red Sox are seeking some input on how to build a new stadium, they might want to look inside their own clubhouse.
Third baseman Tim Naehring, who built a replica of Fenway Park on the Cincinnati ballfield on which he played as a kid, is
talking with Boston mayor Thomas Menino about building another "Little Fenway" here in Boston, which the player would
donate to the city.
And unlike whatever stadium project the ball club launches, Naehring's plan should proceed quickly. They're still looking to line
up corporate sponsors, Naehring said, but the project may get a go-ahead by the end of the summer. Naehring and Menino
already have talked about some possible sites for the ballpark, the most visible outgrowth of the charitable foundation he has
launched, Athletes Reaching Out. Naehring recently negotiated a deal with Citizens Bank in which the bank will donate $150 to
ARO for each of his hits this season.
Mo Vaughn, Jose Canseco, and Roger Clemens all donated $5,000 for the Cincinnati "Little Fenway," and Mike Stanley was
among 30 other Red Sox players and employees who purchased bricks for the ballpark, which Naehring donated to his
Naehring laid the sod himself for the Cincinnati field, with the help of a crew that might have been a little young, by the
standards of head Fenway groundskeeper Joe Mooney.
"I had about 30 little kids helping me out, 5-year-olds grabbing sod," Naehring said with a laugh. "It took us three days."
Naehring has made a personal financial commitment to his foundation that runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
After signing a two-year deal with the Red Sox last winter that kept him in Boston, Naehring decided to focus his charitable
efforts here as well as back home in Cincinnati, where he has enlisted the help of Cincinnati Bengals Jeff Blake and James
Francis and University of Cincinnati basketball coach Bob Huggins.
"You should see the park," Naehring said of the Little Fenway there, which opened last fall. "You can see it from the air when
you land in Cincinnati, and 40,000 cars a day drive by it on the interstate to Indianapolis."
The Cincinnati facility is a faithful replica of the real deal, Naehring said, built virtually to scale. The Green Monster, Pesky
Pole, and the Morse code names of former owners Thomas and Jean Yawkey all will be there when the entire project is
completed this fall.
But don't look for any oversized Coke bottles.
"Pepsi gave us $20,000 for a scoreboard," Naehring said.
There will, however, be a home run challenge this fall in which contributors will have the chance to win a car and other prizes.
There may even be a million-dollar target for the sluggers-for-a-day.
The financial security he gained by signing his last contract, Naehring said, has given him the means to make an impact in a
"When I came here and started as a young major leaguer, my heart was a lot bigger than my pocketbook," he said. "But I
make a very nice living, and not only can I give out of my own pocket, I can use my corporate contacts to market ARO in the
city, to build Little Fenways and other projects."
Naehring said that in setting up his foundation, he was looking for a way for athletes to do something beyond just simply giving
money. Projects like Little Fenway, or donating a computer room or ballfield to an athlete's high school, are tangible outcomes
of a commitment, he said. So are speaking engagements, going into classrooms, and staging golf tournaments.
But beyond making an immediate impact, Naehring has his eye on future generations.
"We have an endowment program starting up in which the athletes and children involved will be endowed by buying life
insurance policies," he said. "So when they expire, that money will be given back to the foundation. We're helping today's kids
build futures, and tomorrow's children with an endowment program."
Naehring said that sponsors interested in supporting his program, or taking part in his golf tournament July 28  in
Wayland, should contact Jay Monahan at Woolf Associates in Boston at 437-1212.
"I've always felt that being a role model was not our responsibility," he said. "It's an obligation."
This story ran on page d10 of the Boston Globe on 04/20/97.
Copyright 1997 Globe Newspaper Company.
Excerpts from a Citizens Bank community Chat, 10/30/97.
Q: Tim, thanks for coming by tonight.
TN: Thanks for having me.
Q: Let's start with your thoughts on the (1997) World Series... You should know that there are two Cleveland natives
in the room...
TN: Happy for the Florida Marlins but I was definitely pulling for the Cleveland Indians. It was very interesting watching the series knowing how close I could have been to being a Cleveland Indian last year.
Q: How close were you to becoming a Cleveland Indian?
TN: I was within one hour, literally one hour, of making a decision of going with the Indians when contract negotiations with the
Red Sox opened back up.
Q: What specifically made you stay?
TN: There were many factors involved in my decision. One, the Indians wanted me to play second base. I felt my talents were
better suited for third. I have enjoyed playing in Boston for a number of years and this was a small chance for me to repay some
loyalty the Red Sox showed me earlier in my career.
Q: Are you happy with your decision to stay?
TN: Yes. Although the season didn't go as well as planned. I'm still happy with my decision to stay in Boston.
Q: So you like the Boston fans?
TN: Of course I like the Boston fans. It's a pleasure to perform each night in front of fans that are knowledgable about the game of baseball. Sometimes it makes it a little tough when things are not going well, because as you and I both know the Boston fans tend to voice their opinion.
Q: On Nightline last Friday, both George Will and Phil Rizutto mentioned that professional athletes, and baseball
players more specifically, had lost touch with their communities. Do you think that's too tough an accusation?
You've certainly not shied away from connecting with the people of the Boston area.
TN: I do think it is too tough of an accusation against baseball players in general. Besides all the negatives that are exposed
through the media there are a lot of positive things happening in the baseball industry. A great number of players are actively
involved in the community not for media attention but more importantly they feel an obligation to do so.
Q: You yourself have acted on that obligation. For instance, your involvement with Athletes Reaching Out. Can you
tell us about the organization?
TN: ARO is an organized, simplified way for an athlete to give something back to kids. Many times we are asked to give time,
money, auction items, or simply a few minutes of our day to help out kids. Our hearts always say yes but our time schedules
sometimes say no. ARO gives us an opportunity to positively affect these kids by building facilities, giving college grants, and
through our endowment program.
Q: You've even built a "Little Fenway Park" in your hometown of Cincinnati, right? Can you tell us a little more about
TN: The Little Fenway Park is a 90% scaled down version of the actual Fenway park. It has cost $750,000 and is being used by
kids throughout Cincinnati on a nightly basis. Plans are in place for a Little Fenway here in the Boston area. No matter what
happens with my baseball career and where it takes me there will be a Little Fenway built here in Boston.
Q: There are rumors that it could be the only Fenway Park left soon...
TN: Let’s hope not. And let’s also hope it will be easier to find a place to build Little Fenway then it has been to find a new place to put the new stadium.
Q: Are other Red Sox players involved with your program?
TN: Last year more than 25 representatives from the Red Sox took part in my golf tournament, which happened in July. Roger
Clemens, Mo Vaughn, Jim Corsi, Darren Bragg, Jeff Frye and many others have given time and money to the foundation.
Q: Do families get involved with ARO, too?
TN: Yes. I guess starting with my own; my mother and father are very active in ARO. ARO not only builds facilities but works hand in hand with many special interest groups across the country. With those special interest groups have come a great number of families that have helped out my foundation immensely.
Q: How is Citizens Bank involved with ARO?
TN: Citizens Bank has been very generous with their contributions over the ‘97 season. Not only have they given money but more importantly have supported all the ARO endeavors over the past twelve months. Citizens Bank and other corporations across the country are the backbone of the foundation. Without their help and support, ARO wouldn't be nearly as successful as it is today. Iwould like to take the time to personally thank them for everything they have done this year and giving me the opportunity to be here tonight.
Q: I saw the Citizens Bank commercial. Any acting plans in the future?
TN: Absolutely not. I do not have enough patience for the acting career.
Q: A lot of athletes don't exactly act in a professional manner. It's hard to explain this to my kids. Any comments?
TN: Although players may forget to realize that they are role models within the heat of a ball game, they should still realize and
become professional enough to perform each night with a certain amount of integrity. More importantly, the impact we can
possibly make on a daily basis is what I like to concentrate on.
Q: Can anyone join ARO?
TN: Yes. For more information please contact Mike at 617-471-0997. Mike is the ARO representative for the Boston Chapter. He
has given his time and efforts for the ARO foundation for more than three years.
Q: What about Nomar Garciaparra... Who does he remind you of?
TN: He doesn't remind me of any particular athlete, but his talents and skills will be fun to watch for the Boston fans for many
years to come.
Q: I grew up in the days of two leagues, and I'm not used to interleague play. How do you feel about facing National
League teams during the regular season?
TN: I enjoyed it this past year. There are obviously things needed to be worked out amongst both leagues. But I think it's exciting for the players and the fans.
Q: Has it been difficult rehabilitating all season while watching the team struggle?
TN: Yes. One of the hardest things about injuries is you no longer have an active part in what happens to the ball club.
Q: Was it hard to sit on the sidelines?
TN: Yes, but I always seem to have a pretty good seat.
Q: If you leave the Red Sox what will happen with your part in ARO?
TN: ARO is definitely going to outlast my career in Boston and my career in general. ARO is designed to continue after my career is over by utilizing present day athletes no matter what year we are talking about.
Q: What's the single greatest (rewarding) moment you've had as a player?
TN: My first major league home run. It was quite a feeling having thirty-five thousand Red Sox fans standing on their feet for my
first major league curtain call.
Q: Do you think baseball will be the same sport in twenty years?
TN: I hope so, but hopefully the games will not be as long. I'd like to thank Citizens Bank for having me here this evening and I
thank everyone for their questions and support, and interest in the ARO foundation.
Naehring's Career Stats
YEAR TEAM G AB R H HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
1990 Boston 24 85 10 23 2 12 .271 .333 .412
1991 Boston 20 55 1 6 0 3 .109 .197 .127
1992 Boston 72 186 12 43 3 14 .231 .309 .323
1993 Boston 39 127 14 42 1 17 .331 .380 .433
1994 Boston 80 297 41 82 7 42 .276 .350 .414
1995 Boston 126 433 61 133 10 57 .307 .416 .448
1996 Boston 116 430 77 124 17 65 .288 .366 .444
1997 Boston 70 259 38 74 9 40 .286 .379 .467
M.L. TOTALS 547 1872 254 527 49 250 .282 .367 .420