Phillies Cubs Baseball

Matt Szczur, who graduated from Lower Cape May Regional in 2007, played for the Chicago Cubs from 2011 to 2017 and was a member of their 2016 World Series championship team. Chicago Cubs’ Matt Szczur hits an RBI double during the second inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Thursday, May 4, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Matt Szczur hasn’t played for the Cubs for most of the last two seasons, but he still has an appreciation for the fans.

The outfielder with an artistic flair, who played for the Cubs from 2014 until he was traded to the Padres in May 2017, is selling prints commemorating the final out of the 2016 World Series through his foundation.

Szczur is a 2007 graduate of Lower Cape May Regional High School.

The original 3-by-4-foot painting hangs in the Wrigley Field suite of the Ricketts family. Szczur said he was asked by Chairman Tom Ricketts to produce the artwork after his painting of Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant was auctioned for $35,000 at the team’s annual Bricks and Ivy Ball that raises money for Cubs Charities.

“Chicago will always hold a special place in my heart because of how they treated me and what we’ve accomplished together,” Szczur wrote in a message. “The Cubs are a great organization. The city and fans are just as great. We’ll be world champs forever, and that’s something that can never be taken away.”

Szczur wrote that Ricketts made a “generous” donation to his foundation for the World Series print, which gained popularity when it was posted online. Fans quickly contacted Szczur about obtaining a print, which was recently made available through his website, szcztheday.com.

Artwork and charity have accompanied the athletic career of Szczur, a football star at Villanova who signed a $1.5 million bonus with the Cubs as a fifth-round pick in 2011 to bypass a chance to participate in the NFL combine.

As a child, Szczur watched his father, Marc, draw, paint and carve wood. He took art classes in college, and he occasionally draws and paints to alleviate the stress of a long season.

“I see how happy it makes me, and I love how it can make other people happy, too,” Szczur said. “I can definitely see myself pursuing this when I’m done playing. I’ve had teammates ask me to design and paint some stuff for them, and they love everything I’ve done.

“It’s an option after baseball.”

But for now, Szczur is focused on baseball as well helping the less fortunate. In 2009, Szczur donated bone marrow to a 15-month old Ukrainian girl battling leukemia and continues to raise awareness for the disease and other cancers.

Recently, Szczur’s foundation donated $10,000 to students coping with food insecurity and 50 turkeys to families for Thanksgiving.

Szczur is a free agent after appearing in 57 games with the Padres in 2018 and remains in contact with his former Cubs teammates.

“They’ll always be my family,” Szczur said. “Once you grind on the field with your teammates, they’ll be your teammates throughout life. We were a part of something so special. It’s not every day something like that (a World Series title) happens.”

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