CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The Appalachian League announced that Burlington’s Kenny Mallory Jr. (Elon University) was named the Humanitarian of the Year. The Humanitarian of the Year award is given to the Appalachian League player who has been judged to have made the most notable contributions to his community during the season through active participation in community service projects.
“Winning this award means the world to me because I love doing this for the community,” said Mallory Jr. on Monday in a ceremony held by the Sock Puppets at Burlington Athletic Stadium in Burlington, N.C. “And being an Elon student and being around Burlington all the time, this award is even closer to my heart. To give back to these people after how they support our team, it’s awesome.”
Mallory Jr., 21, participated in the Sock Puppets’ Little League Takeover, held at the City of Burlington’s Springwood Park, and read to students at ABSS Elon Elementary on June 5, the day before the Appalachian League’s Opening Day. As an Appy League All-Star, Mallory Jr. joined with other All-Star players on July 24 in Johnson City, Tenn., to help with Major League Baseball’s PLAY BALL Kids Camp. On July 26, he participated in the Sock Puppets’ Kids Camp.
“We are extremely excited for Kenny to be named the 2023 Appalachian League Humanitarian of the Year,” said Sock Puppets general manager Anderson Rathburn. “He takes immense pride in being a role model for the kids in our community and tries to make a positive impact off the field every chance he gets.”
This season, Mallory Jr. batted .295 (44-for-149) with eight doubles, one triple and 21 RBIs for the Sock Puppets while playing in an Appy League-high 46 games. The outfielder led the league in runs scored (52), walks (45) and stolen bases (28), and finished third and fourth in hits (tied-44) and OBP (.457), earning a spot on the All-Appalachian League Team.
Mallory Jr. also conducted a semester-long research project for Elon University examining athlete-coach mentorship and relationship expectations in a Burlington youth baseball league. As part of the study, Mallory Jr., a sport management major, led more than 30 interviews with parents and coaches. He presented his research on July 19 before traveling with the Sock Puppets to Danville for that night’s game.
“People look up to baseball players, and here we get to be role models to the kids,” said Mallory Jr.