Ryan Scott Dempster was born on May 3, 1977 in Sechelt, BC, Canada. Ryan grew up in a sports-minded family, with he and his two brothers, Travis and Chris, playing baseball, basketball and soccer throughout their early years. Ryan played baseball for the Northshore Twins in Sechelt, and graduated from Elphinstone Secondary School in Gibsons, BC in 1995. Ryan was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 1995 draft. He made his major league debut with the Florida Marlins on May 23, 1998. Ryan was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 2002 and joined the Cubs in 2004. Ryan is a two time National League All Star earning the honor in 2000 and 2008. This season marked his fourth consecutive year with double digit victories and over 200 innings pitched (seventh in his career in both categories respectively). Ryan also tied for the National League lead this year in games started as a starting pitcher with 34 starts (tied with Derek Lowe of the Atlanta Braves and Chris Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals).
Ryan’s earlier charitable endeavors include assisting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Garth Brooks’ Teammates for Kids. In 2000, he hosted children from the S.O.S. Children’s Village at each of his home starts and donated $10 for every strikeout ($2090) to the KIDS THAT CARE Pediatric and Cancer Fund, established to build a pediatric bone marrow transplant unit in Miami. In 2006, Ryan and his wife, Jenny, established “Dempster’s Dugout”, a charitable ticket program that benefits local social service agencies that assist low-income children. Through this program, Ryan and Jenny host over 500 children a year at select Cubs games. The program not only allows the kids the opportunity to see their home team play but includes behind-the-scenes extras such as an escorted tour of the field, a bird’s eye view of batting practice and a chance to meet Ryan. The kids are also given “Cubs Dollars” for food and souvenirs. All this adds up to a very special day for some deserving youth.
Over the years Ryan has received many honors for his charitable deeds. In 2000 he received the James “Tip” O’Neill Award, presented annually by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to the Canadian baseball player judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to the highest ideals of baseball. “The Sporting News” named him one of the 99 “Good Guys” in professional sports in 2001. Following the 2001 season, he was also presented with the “All Heart” Award by the Florida chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America—given to the Florida Marlins Player who best exemplifies the team’s commitment to the South Florida community by making a positive impact and by serving as a role model for others. Ryan was the Chicago Cubs nominee for the Roberto Clemente award in 2006, 2008 and 2011, which is given annually to the major league baseball player who combines outstanding skills on the field with devoted work in the community. Ryan was honored at the 2010 Comcast SportsNet Sports Awards for his achievements on and off the field.
Ryan continues his ongoing charitable efforts through his foundation, the Dempster Family Foundation, established in 2009. Ryan and Jenny have three children: Brady, Riley and Finley.
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