Since the 2002 season, whenever the Steelers have needed a backup quarterback to replace the talented but oft-injured Ben Roethlisberger, they have turned to one man: fifteen year veteran Charlie Batch. A Pittsburgh, PA native, Batch has a 6-3 record as a starter for the team he grew up watching, and has been a fan favorite of the black and yellow since his arrival eleven years ago. Originally a second round draft pick for the Detroit Lions, Batch found his way back home after an overhaul in Detroit following the 2001 season, when the Lions hired a new front office and drafted quarterback Joey Harrington. Although his starts are few and far between, Batch has been rock solid when called upon in Steeler Nation, and has been rewarded with two super bowl rings during his tenure in Pittsburgh, when the Steelers won in 2006 and 2009.
As the fans in Pittsburgh will tell you however, Batch is a fan favorite for his off the field work as well. Being a Pittsburgh native, Batch takes extreme pride in his work off the field, and has found multiple ways to give back. His main work is with his own foundation, “The Best of the Batch Foundation.” This foundation’s goal offers athletic programs for the youth of financially challenged communities around Pittsburgh and throughout the country. Batch does this because he states how much of a positive impact sports had on his life growing up, and wants to give that same experience to the youth of today. “Our goal” Batch states on his website, “is to provide financially challenged youth and their families with the purpose, desire, and resources to give their best efforts in all they do throughout their lives.” “By developing after school programs, scholarships for students, restoring playgrounds, and offering sports and leisure activities, we show our commitment to the success of all our youth and their families. The encouragement and involvement of the community stimulates that success.”
Batch’s largest program inside of the best of the Batch foundation is project C.H.U.C.K.. Project C.H.U.C.K. is a basketball league for boys and girls 7-18 years old. For six weeks, participants play a total of 20 basketball games followed by playoffs and eventually the championship game. “In addition to providing children with something to do, Project C.H.U.C.K. teaches them discipline, self-confidence, team orientation, and the fundamental skills of basketball, all while having a great time!” Batch says on his website, batchfoundation.org. Project C.H.U.C.K. is an acronym that stands for Continuously Helping Uplift Community Kids.
One of the ways Batch funds his foundation is by hosting his annual “In the Pocket” event. This annual event allows guests the opportunity to interact and play ping-pong, pool, and poker with Pittsburgh sports stars and celebrities, including Batch and his teammates. All proceeds benefit the reading and computer literacy programs at Best of the Batch Foundation. Other events Batch does on an annual basis is his Toys for Tots Literacy Program, the NCJW BatchPacks for Kids Program, An Architecture Building Communities Program, “Batch and Me”, along with a Summer Reading Program, Tutoring Program, Field Trips, and Scholarships offers.
Along with being a “Whizzer” White award finalist this year, Batch has deservedly been acknowledged from other organizations as well for his tremendous service. Batch has been recognized from: The Steel Valley Hall of Fame (2012), NFLPA Pulse Award (2011), Whirl Magazine Couples Who Give Back (2011), Eastern Michigan University Hall of Fame (2010), and The New Pittsburgh Courier 50 Men of Influence (2006). He also has won the following awards for off the field excellence. D&R Champion (Dignity and Respect) (2012), PUMP 40 Under 40 Award (2009), Pittsburgh Pirates Community Service Award (2007), Boys and Girls Club Outstanding Service Award (2007), Bus Stops Here Foundation Humanitarian and Community Award (2006), Jerome Bettis Award for Humanity and Community Service (2006), and Eastern Michigan Outstanding Alumnus Award (2005).
While Batch may not go down as one of the best quarterbacks to play in the NFL, at the end of the day his impact on the children he has helped will leave a much greater impression. For that reason alone, Batch will go down as a hero, for something no statistic can measure.