In talking to Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer, you forget that he’s just 28.
The Clayton native, who also spent three seasons with the Rays Triple A affiliate the Durham Bulls, will host his fourth annual Night of Champions via his Archway Foundation on Saturday at the Sheraton Raleigh Hotel downtown. Archer is teaming with Starting Right Now of Tampa and wants to help end homelessness among children.
“We are sharing our new vision and I’m super excited,” Archer said. “It starts with one child, and this is something we want to go national with.”
Archer played baseball at Clayton High School. As a senior, he committed to the University of Miami, but was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the fifth round of the 2006 MLB Draft. He decided that baseball was his future, but had worked into his contract that if baseball did not pan out, the Indians would pay for him to go to school and get his degree.
In 2011, he was traded to the Rays and initially played for the Double A Montgomery Biscuits. He made two starts for the Bulls at the end of the season. By 2013 he was full time with the Rays and in 2015 had a breakout year, being named to the All-Star Game and finishing fifth in the American League Cy Young Award voting.
This past season Archer got off to a slow first half before rebounding to finish second in the American League with 233 strikeouts. He was also selected to play for USA Baseball in the World Baseball Classic in March.
“I’m fired up” to play in the World Baseball Classic, said Archer, who just completed his fifth season with the Rays. “Usually (in March) we’re going through the same spring training routine. It’s not every day you get 25 All-Stars in the same room. I’m stoked.”
While called up to the Rays in 2012, Archer got the idea of starting the Archway Foundation after reading the book “The Alchemist,” which he said deals with personal legends. He began to think about his life and baseball and wanting to be successful but also wanting to give back.
“Baseball is something I want to be successful at, but there’s more to life than sports,” said Archer, who now makes his home in Tampa. “I can use this sport as a platform to positively impact as many people as I can.”
From there, with help from friends and family, he created the Archway Foundation. In the beginning, the foundation focused on funding a couple of baseball teams to help children learn lessons through baseball and to ease the burden of parents having to pay for equipment.
The foundation still partially funds one team, but “4 to 6 months ago” he and the foundation’s board decided to put most of its focus on ending youth homelessness.
“Even beyond the finances, we want people who care (about youth homelessness),” Archer said. “We are making a strong push and we need the help of the community in the Raleigh area.”
Donal Ware hosts the nationally syndicated sports talk radio program “FROM THE PRESS BOX TO PRESS ROW,” which can be heard locally on Saturday mornings on Buzz Sports Radio and WAUG and on SiriusXM.
4th annual Night of Champions
When: Saturday 5:30-11 p.m.
Where: Sheraton Raleigh Hotel, 421 S. Salisbury St., Raleigh
Tickets: archwayfoundation.com/ or call 919-795-8160