When Tanner Houck was in high school, his mother showed up to one of his baseball games pushing a stroller. It was an odd sight to Houck, who had a younger sister — but not one who normally was pushed around in a stroller. But eventually he would meet the four-year-old in the stroller, Reanna — who the Houck family would care for as a foster child and eventually adopt.
Now that he’s a major league baseball player with the Boston Red Sox — quite a ways away from the junior varsity player he was when he met Reanna for the first time — Houck has made it his personal mission to help other kids find permanent homes through adoption.
“To hear (Reanna’s) story, it really impacted me from that age, to realize how good I actually had it growing up,” Houck explained in an appearance on Instagram Live. “I wanted to touch all these younger kids that are in foster care, that are in certain homes, just to be able to give back to kids and just be able to impact their lives the way I saw it happen with Reanna.
“I just want to give back to them and say that you have a chance to succeed in life.”
Houck, whose father and stepfather also were adopted, began his Pitch For Adoption campaign when he was still working his way through the Red Sox organization. In 2019, he pledged to make a donation to the St. John Bosco Children’s Center in southern Illinois for every strikeout he logged.
Along the way, he has hosted baseball camps and organized other opportunities to benefit the home. On Oct. 12, he sent $10,000 worth of household items to the center.
His latest endeavor is in collaboration with Dugout Mugs, which produces officially licensed baseball bat mugs. The Instagram Live was held to celebrate the launch of Houck’s charity mug, with proceeds benefiting Pitch for Adoption.
The Pitch For Adoption bat mug is sold for $29.99.