Brandon Inge, the Tigers' third baseman, got a new contract last December for his many contributions on the field.

He and his wife, Shari, who works with children at a local hospital, decided they wanted to make some contributions in the community, too.

Inge donated $100,000 to the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich. Inge, who smacked 27 homers and drove in 83 runs for the Tigers last season during their run to the World Series, didn't hesitate to help at the hospital.

"Do you know how incredibly lucky I am to make a living doing something like playing baseball?" Inge said. "I do what I do for fun, and I see the children (at the hospital) and you feel for them. You have to try to help.''

With his wife's support, he has been active in volunteer work for the hospital patients and their families, even when he was still clinging to a spot on the roster. Since then, Inge's signature event, the Base-Bowl, has generated more than $18,000 for the hospital.

The hospital and the children it serves are the real winners. The hospital, recently ranked among the best in the country by Child magazine, broke ground last year on a new $523 million structure to house both the children's hospital and a women's hospital.

And the Inges are just one example of the many individuals who've contributed to funding this ambitious project.

"I play a game for a living," Inge said. "That's nothing. Remember back when you were a kid and just played for fun? I still do, I just get paid for it now.

"There are kids who can't come close to what I am doing ever and may never have a chance. It only makes sense to give back. What I do is nothing compared to what they do every day.''

Inge said his donations to the hospital aren't a matter of getting his name in the newspaper for doing something good for the community.

Some athletes keep the matter private when they give back. Inge said he is more than willing to talk about it if it helps the hospital.

"I don't mind people knowing about it," Inge said. "If it inspires others to help, I will do what it takes. Everybody should give back. They need to see what kids are going through and do what they can to help.''