Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton to donate face shields to hospitals in Southland and New York

Bill Shaikin
New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton looks on before a Grapefruit League spring training game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Feb. 26, 2019, in Tampa, Fla.  (Michael Reaves / Getty Images)

The shortage of personal protective equipment in America’s hospitals is a national problem. With more than a million Americans testing positive for the novel coronavirus and more than 60,000 dead, some doctors and nurses have been asked to care for patients without the fresh masks and shields that could better protect them from contracting the illness.

Giancarlo Stanton did something about it. The 2017 National League most valuable player announced Wednesday that he is donating 15,000 face shields to hospitals in Southern California, where he grew up, and in New York, where he now plays for the Yankees.

The local recipients are Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood, Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys and East Los Angeles Doctors’ Hospital.

“The African-American and Latino communities are hit the hardest,” Stanton said. “Those hospitals have the least resources. They were depleted.”

Stanton said he expects to do additional research and provide more masks.

A look at a protective masks that New York Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton is donating.  (Voodoo Manufacturing)

“They’re going out just as fast as they can be made,” he said. “I’ll keep checking on where they’re needed most.”

Stanton, who starred at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High, said he also has been impacted by friends and family members who have contracted the coronavirus, all of whom have recovered.

“Their stories of how they felt and the struggle to get through it, just seeing the overall damage this has done is pretty wild,” he said.

Stanton said he is working out in Tampa, the city that hosts the Yankees for spring training. He said he is eager for the season to start, under whatever plan the league and the players’ union might agree, and he said he would go along with playing under quarantine if necessary.

The protective masks New York Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton is donating comes in variety of colors.  (Voodoo Manufacturing)

“We play every day,” he said. “You may need a couple different cities to have the best plan. Whatever is the safest one, I think we’d all be in agreement to go back out there.”

After the league sanctioned the Houston Astros for cheating, Stanton said the punishment was not harsh enough and the Astros should have been stripped of their title from the 2017 World Series, in which they beat the Dodgers. Stanton respectfully said this was not the right time to offer his opinion on the league’s punishment of the Boston Red Sox last week.

“Everyone is going through tough times,” Stanton said.

When Stanton was planning his donation, he said he prioritized “companies that were redirecting their manufacturing to helping the cause.”

Voodoo Manufacturing, a provider of 3D printing, prototyping and design services, is based in Brooklyn, at the heart of America’s coronavirus crisis. The Voodoo factory, which employs 20 people, was ordered to close in March as a nonessential business.

Instead, chief executive Max Friefeld and his company revamped its plant to make face shields.

“We had never made face shields before,” Friefeld said.

He said the company has made more than 30,000 shields in about a month. Stanton’s order accounted for half, with a value Friefeld put at about $50,000.

Friefeld said he hoped to have the opportunity to meet Stanton once the pandemic passes. If he does, Friefeld jokingly pondered what particular Stanton memorabilia might look good on the Voodoo factory wall.

“Maybe a signed face shield,” he said.