Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler is making notable contributions both on and off the field. Last offseason, Buehler hosted his second annual charity golf tournament in his hometown of Lexington, Kentucky to benefit Field of Genes — a charity campaign started by Buehler’s former Dodger teammate Rich Hill.
Hill founded Field of Genes with his wife Caitlin in honor of their late son, Brooks, who in 2013 was diagnosed with a rare genetic brain condition, and passed away at just two months old. After hearing what Hill went through and how he was looking to help other families struggling for answers, Buehler wanted to provide assistance.
“You hear a guy talk about his life and his family and what matters to him, and was just kind of touched by that and moved by that,” Buehler said.
The proceeds from Buehler’s tournament were donated to Field of Genes to raise money for research in the fields of rare genetic and undiagnosed diseases at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and to ease the financial and emotional burden for families affected.
“There are so many people affected by a rare disease. It’s not just one disease. It’s not just what our son Brooks had. It’s really just to raise awareness for all rare undiagnosed diseases,” said Caitlin Hill.
Fortunately for Buehler, he got to play in the tournament with familiar playing partners — his dad Tony and Dodgers special assistant José Vizcaíno, a longtime Buehler family friend.
“Walker’s known José since he was 4-years-old. They’ve become really really close. They golf a lot on the road together. It’s cool to watch it all come full circle. He’s got great friends here [in Lexington], a network here, and to be able to use the platform the right way it’s just special,” said Tony Buehler.
The tournament also included a silent auction organized by Buehler, which included Derek Jeter’s cleats, Derek Jeter’s game glove, and a Sandy Koufax jersey.
“The contributions have been incredible. We’re thankful towards our teammates. The guys who contributed a big way and I know for myself, my wife Caitlin and for [my son] Brice that means the world to us,” Rich Hill said.
The tournament ended up raising $100,000 for the Field of Genes foundation, doubling the proceeds of Buehler’s first annual tournament.
“What he does on the field speaks for itself but we’re going to be remembered for our contributions off the field, and that’s something that he’s doing at a very early start in his career,” Rich Hill said. “For him to do the work that he’s doing and to honor Field of Genes is something that we’re very thankful for.”