By Sarah Nathan
C raig Breslow, the 2014 spokesman for the MTA Red Sox Reading Game and Most Valuable Educator Program, knows
the power of a good pitch — and the impact of
reading a good book.
The player known as “the smartest man in
baseball” is a 2002 graduate of Yale University,
where — aside from playing baseball — he
majored in molecular biophysics and biochemistry.
After college, Breslow was on track to attend
New York University’s School of Medicine and
carry out his lifelong ambition of becoming a
physician. His plans changed when he was drafted
to play Major League ball.
“I thought I’d be a doctor, and baseball
was always this fantasy life that I entertained,”
Breslow said. “As it turned out, it seems like I got
it exactly backward. Baseball is my reality and life
Breslow spoke to MTA Today during a trip to
the Brophy Elementary School in Framingham,
where he made a pitch to students to keep up their
reading over the summer. He read “How Full Is
Your Bucket?” to the students.
Breslow’s extraordinary combination of
academic and athletic gifts earned him the
“smartest man in baseball” moniker in an article
written by a Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter
years ago. He topped the list of the smartest
athletes in The Sporting News in 2010, and in
2012, Men’s Fitness named him one of the 10
smartest athletes in professional sports.
“Breslow uses words in a normal conversation
that I’m not used to,” Red Sox Manager John
Farrell told mlb.com in 2013. “When he starts to
speak, some guys might not be thinking along with
The gifted athlete is the son of two
teachers. His mother taught math in Bridgeport,
Connecticut, and his father taught middle school
biology, health and physical education nearby in
his hometown of Trumbull.
“The importance of education was always
stressed in our household,” Breslow said.
“Between the two of them, I guess you could
probably explain my interest in math, science and
He jokes about being a student at the same
school where his father, Abe Breslow, was a health
teacher. “The possibility of having your dad as
your gym teacher is slightly unnerving, but the
possibility of having your dad as your health
teacher is even more uncomfortable. Fortunately,
I never had him” as a teacher.
Breslow is passionate about baseball and
reading. During the season, he takes advantage of
downtime — when traveling between games and
during rain delays — to pick up a good book. He
said he wishes he had read more during his free
time when he was a kid.
“I think back on how much time I had
growing up and how many more books I would
have loved to have read,” he said. “It’s important
to impress upon younger kids the importance of
reading and the benefits of reading.
“Reading is invaluable,” Breslow continued.
“It is an incredible way to further your education,
remain connected to world issues and entertain
yourself when there is no one else around.”
He is passionate about combating cancer, as
well as about books and learning. With his wife,
Kelly, he runs the Strike 3 Foundation, a nonprofit
that raises awareness and support for pediatric
His sister, Leslie, who beat cancer when she
was a middle school student, is the inspiration
behind the charity. Leslie, who has been cancer-free for 25 years, also works in public education.
She is a guidance counselor in Connecticut.
To see a video of MTA Today’s interview
with Breslow, please visit www.youtube.com/
massteacher. To learn more about the Strike 3
Foundation, go to www.strike3foundation.org.
By Bob Duffy
I t has been another championship season for programs run by the MTA and the Boston Red Sox that inspire students to read and succeed.
Pitcher Craig Breslow has teamed up with
public educators to encourage students to read
thousands of books through the MTA Red Sox
Reading Game. In addition, teachers and other
school staff have been recognized at Saturday
home games as part of the Most Valuable Educator
program. Both efforts are sponsored by a generous
grant from The Hanover Insurance Group
As the baseball season moves toward its
conclusion, 100 lucky winners of the reading game
MTA contest is a perennial hit with Massachusetts students
have been selected randomly from among the
thousands of entries that students in kindergarten
through eighth grade have sent in. The winning
students — plus their guardians and teachers —
will attend an evening game at Fenway Park on
Five of the 100 winning students, one from each
region of the state, have been chosen as grand prize
winners. Each gets an extra pair of tickets, is invited
to participate in a pregame recognition ceremony
on the field, and will receive a baseball signed by
Breslow, who serves as the contest spokesman.
The program is designed to be an enjoyable
way to help parents encourage their children to read
over the summer, when literacy skills typically take
The Most Valuable Educator program
encourages students and others to nominate
educators for special recognition by submitting
essays to the Red Sox.
Winners are invited to participate in a
pregame recognition ceremony during Saturday
home games, along with the people who
Breslow, who is known for his own level
of academic achievement, told MTA Today
during a recent interview at the Brophy School
in Framingham that he is committed to helping
“Both my parents were public school teachers,
so the importance of reading and education was
always front and center,” he said.
Red Sox relief pitcher Craig Breslow, accompanied by Wally the Green Monster, read to
students at Framingham’s Brophy Elementary School during a visit in June.
Photo by Bob Duffy