GREAT OUTFIELDER AND PERSON BRADEN BISHOP DOES AMAZING CHARITY WORK FOR ALZHEIMER'S
A former great University of Washington Husky, current Mariners outfielder Braden Bishop is a superb fielder and has been improving as a hitter. But just as importantly as his playing abilities, he is a great person who does an enormous amount of charity work.
Bishop, 26, runs #4MOM, a charity for Alzheimer’ that is a terrible disease that destroys memory issues and which over 5 million Americans have (including my mother, who died four years ago). He started it because his mother, Suzy Bishop, developed early-onset Alzheimer’s while just in her 50s, though most people usually get it when they are 65 or older.
Prior to having Alzheimer’s, Suzy was a great runner while in college at UCLA and then an important person working on TV shows such as “Law and Order’’ and “Homicide: Life on the Street.’’ She also won an Emmy for the 1991 TV film, “Separate But Equal’’ which starred Sidney Poitier and Burt Lancaster.
“She did a lot of stuff,’’ Braden told me in 2018. “Ran track in college, then went into the movie business and met some cool people and did some cool movies and shows. She had a pretty accomplished career.’’
Sadly, Suzy died this October at just age 59 after suffering just over five years from Alzheimer’s.
“I will miss you every single day,’’ Braden posted on Twitter after her death. “I promise I will not let a day go by where I don’t honor your memory and focus on the things you instilled in me. … To my biggest fan, my first love, my rock, my superwoman.’’
Bishop started his Alzheimer’s charity work when he still was at the UW in 2015 and initially raised $5,000 through a weightlifting competition there. He also wrote 4MOM on his arm and got other players to write it on their arms, shoes and wristbands. He is very much helping the Alzheimer’s charity which deserves far more attention.
“I think the biggest thing is we started it to raise awareness,’’ he said. “But I think now we’re connecting and supporting researchers and just trying to push doctors to find more answers. It is so complex. It is really hard to get into the disease in the brain. We’re trying to help doctors and raise awareness. I think it’s important to do the research side of it.’’
After playing so well for the Huskies, Bishop was drafted in the third round by the Mariners in 2015. He was with the team during spring training 2018 and he donated money to Alzheimer’s for every hit he got that spring -- $10 for singles, $20 for doubles, $30 for triples and $40 for home runs -- as did several teammates whom he inspired with his charity efforts. Manager Scott Servais also had the team wear 4MOM shirts before a game in spring training that year. “(Servais) kind of gave me the platform to tell my story and then he backed it,’’ Bishop said with much appreciation last spring. “And then all the players did as well. So that was kind of a very cool, unique experience.’’
And at the end of the 2018 season, he received the Dan Wilson Minor League Community Service award for all his great charity work.
He also held a charity event at a nearby golf range during spring training in 2019 where he raised $50,000. And he has started the Suzy Bishop Memorial Fund that will be awarded to family every year.
“Most families can’t afford (memory care facilities) so we’re trying to help them,’’ he said. “Hopefully we’ll be helpful with families.’’
Bishop reached the majors with the Mariners this past 2019 season and made his debut at the second game in Tokyo last March, replacing Ichiro in the outfield who retired that same game. Unfortunately, he suffered a lacerated spleen when hit by a pitch in early June and was out for most of the next couple months. After recovering, he returned to the team in September. Playing centerfield the last game, he also caught the flyball for the final out of the season. He is expected to be on the team when the 2020 season starts.
His younger brother, Hunter, is also a great player – he went to Arizona State University and was drafted in the first round last year by the Giants – and also helps with the charity work.
With that and his career with the Mariners, Bishop will be focused both on baseball and on raising money for Alzheimer’s through 4MOM. He does so much for the latter that Husky baseball coach Lindsay Meggs told me in 2018 that Bishop “is putting as much time into trying to solve those problems as he is playing baseball.’’
He is great in both areas. And you can also learn more or make a donation on the website 4MOM.org.
“We’re growing and hopefully we can keep growing it and reach more families,’’ Bishop said.