That’s 191 players, meaning the 37-year-old from South Korea is pledging $191,000.
“I can help other people,” Choo, who is heading into his final year of a $130 million, seven-year contract, said Wednesday in a conference call. “That’s a good thing.”
“Twenty years ago … coming from Korea, I (had) nothing,” he said. “Baseball gives me a lot of things. I want to pay back to other people…It’s a hard situation in the world, but still I can help other people.”
Choo spent seven years in the minor leagues. He remembers how little money he had in those days, and said at times he would skip dinner to keep his $20 meal money.
When he and his wife Won Mi Ha had their first child, Alan, in 2005, Choo said he had trouble having enough money to buy diapers. He estimated during that time he was earning about $350 a week.
“I don’t want these guys’ baseball careers affected by money,” Choo said, adding that he hopes his donation can keep players in a position to focus on training at home, and perhaps one day reach the majors.
“Probably a lot of guys maybe (are) looking for another job right now,” he said. “I don’t want to lose any players over money.”
Choo’s major league career started in 2005 with the Seattle Mariners. He also played for the Cleveland Indians and briefly with the Cincinnati Reds. He joined the Rangers in 2014.
On Tuesday, MLB announced it would extend its initiative to provide financial support to minor league players through the end of May or the beginning of the minor league season, whichever comes first, according to a statement from the league.
A source with knowledge of the initiative told CNN that the plan will provide more than 7,000 minor league ballplayers with $400 a week during this time period.
The affected players and their families also will continue to receive medical benefits during this time period.
CNN’s Kevin Dotson contributed to this report.