Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers were finally able to present Joc Pederson with his 2020 World Series champions ring as the Chicago Cubs made their visit to Dodger Stadium.
However, Joc wasn’t the only Pederson who left the stadium with some new jewelry. The Dodgers also surprised Champ with a ring of his own. Champ said he was surprised when the Dodgers gave him the ring before the game.
He also called them are a great organization and said he’s very happy to be Joc’s older brother.
Joc was in the Dodgers organization for a decade and Champ was always his biggest supporter. Since Joc’s rookie year, Champ developed a close relationship with some of the players and was asked to give pregame speeches multiple times.
The Los Angeles Dodgers gifted Champ Pederson, Joc’s older brother a 2020 World Series championship ring as well. @yungjoc650
— Cubs Zone (@CubsZone) June 25, 2021
In an essay posted on the Player’s Tribune story, Joc wrote that the Dodgers went out of their way to make Champ feel like a part of the team:
“I want to thank everyone with the Dodgers who has gone out of their way to make Champ a real part of the team. (For those who don’t know, Champ is my oldest brother and he has Down syndrome.) I remember back in 2015, during those playoffs….. I mean, first of all, I was a rookie. Plus I’d gotten benched a little while ago, because I couldn’t buy a hit. And still, Don Mattingly, who was our manager at the time, he comes up to me….. and says he wants Champ to give a motivational speech to the team before the Mets series…”
They also let him travel with the team plane — that’s a rule Don put in, and Dave kept around: Champ is literally the only person not affiliated with the Dodgers who is cleared to fly on the team plane.”
Champ was also asked by Adrian Gonzalez to give another speech before Game 5 of the National League Division Series.
Pujols’ connection with Champ
Albert Pujols, who has a daughter with down Down syndrome, started the Pujols Family Foundation that works with children and families who are impacted.
In 2015, Pujols gave Champ a signed Angels jersey because the future Hall of Famer is his favorite player.
Since then, Champ and Pujols have shared a close relationship. The most famous moment between them when happened when Pujols gave Champ a bear hug during the Home Run Derby.
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