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Players join in fantasy football for charity

Adam Wainwright’s idea to combine fantasy football and charity is gathering support from his fellow big leaguers in other cities.

David Wright and Skip Schumaker this week became the latest players to join Wainwright’s Big League Impact initiative, hosting their own charity fantasy drafts in New York and Cincinnati.

Max Scherzer (Detroit), Freddie Freeman (Atlanta) and Wainwright have already hosted the drafts for their leagues. Each of the leagues has sold out quickly with charitable fans anxious to join the effort and compete for prizes with the players.

Wainwright along with his brother Trey founded Big League Impact in 2013 as “Waino’s World, Inc.” After the initial “Waino’s World of Fantasy Football” event generated more than $120,000 for local charities, Wainwright decided to invite players around the league to join him.

“This is just the beginning,” Wainwright said. “Our goal is to take this to every big-league city and we’re already planning for more next year. We’re raising a lot of money for some really great causes. I’m excited that guys around the league are responding so positively to this program.”

All told, more than 60 players are joining the fantasy leagues to support more than 25 different charities.

“It’s a joy to see players initiating and uniting for charitable efforts like this,” Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark said. “These guys are serving the communities where they live, work and play with their vision, leadership and generosity.”

For example, Mets players Dillon Gee, Matt Harvey, Daniel Murphy and Jon Niese joined in “The Wright Stuff” league, which benefits the New York Mets Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Long Island, Ronald McDonald House Manhattan and The Big League Impact Basic Needs Initiative.

The Mets players hosted their draft at Citi Field on Wednesday afternoon before their game that night and draft participants were treated to photo opportunity, a behind-the-scenes tour, VIP access at batting practice and tickets to the game.

The leagues themselves continue online through the NFL season with some great prizes for the winners.