Former Utah star C.J. Cron, now with the Colorado Rockies, is currently tied for the major league lead with nine home runs this season.  

On Wednesday, in a figurative sense, Cron homered for his alma mater.

The school announced that Cron, the program’s first first-round draft pick, has donated a “significant philanthropic gift” to the Utah baseball program that will help Utah baseball into the future.

Details of the donation were not disclosed, but according to the university, Cron’s donation will enhance “day-to-day development and overall experience of Utah baseball.”

“I am extremely honored and humbled to be able to give back to the University of Utah baseball program,” Cron said in a statement. “Both the University and baseball program hold a special place in my heart. I would not be the person or ball player I am today without the unwavering support from everyone I crossed paths with at Utah. I will forever be a Ute!”

University of Utah baseball player C.J. Cron poses for photos Monday, April 25, 2011 inside the indoor practice facility. Cron is one of the top hitters in the country. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Cron is in his ninth MLB season. He was selected No. 17 overall in the 2011 draft by the Angels and he made his major league debut in 2014. 

Cron’s career batting average is .263 with 155 homers, 487 RBI and 768 hits. This season, he’s hitting .307 with nine home runs. 

“Our sincere gratitude goes out to C.J. for his generosity toward our program,” Utah head baseball coach Gary Henderson said. “We are grateful to call C.J. a member of our Utah baseball family, and appreciate everything he has done over the years to support our team.”

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Said Utah athletic director Mark Harlan: “We are incredibly grateful for this generous gift by C.J., which will make a significant impact for our student-athletes. This really speaks to the high regard that C.J. feels for the University of Utah and our baseball program, and his desire to invest in its future growth.”

During his time at Utah, from 2009 to 2011, Cron hit .396, setting the Utes’ career record. He was a two-time first-team All-American and a 2011 Golden Spikes Award semifinalist. 

Cron was a two-time Mountain West Conference Player of the Year, and also was named MWC Freshman of the Year in 2009. 

In 2009, Cron became the only player in the country to get three hits in a game off eventual No. 1 MLB draft pick Stephen Strasburg.

Colorado Rockies first baseman C.J. Cron jokes with teammates around the batting cage before a game against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in Denver. On Wednesday, the University of Utah announced that the former Ute standout has pledged a significant donation to the Utes baseball program. | David Zalubowski, Associated Press