At age 26, Sean Marshall hasn't heard of the 1950s TV show The Millionaire.

It was a unique, never-repeated concept. A messenger named Michael Anthony, played by character actor Marvin Miller, handed out $1 million checks on behalf of an eccentric billionaire to unsuspecting average folks. The dramas that played out with the sudden riches made up the remainder of the show.

Cubs lefty starter Marshall became a modern-day cousin to Miller, in a way, in an April 21 ceremony. At 6-foot-7, he'd never be mistaken for the husky Miller, but it didn't matter to some beneficiaries. Marshall helped hand out checks totaling $1,060,000 from Cubs Care and the McCormick Foundation to non-profit organizations in the Chicago area.

"It's good they asked me to help them out," Marshall said. "People were thankful I was there.

"We handed out 41 checks. It was good to be a part of it. It was really touching to see the way Cubs Care helped people out. All the money they gave away will go to great causes."

Marshall figured his role as grant-award man could be an entrée to regular community contributions. The Richmond, Va., native is finally a member of the Cubs starting rotation after 2 ½ seasons of spot duty and trips to the Minors. That means he should be in one place for a while.

"I always like to put myself in a situation where I can help other people," Marshall said. "Just being a professional baseball player, you have an influence on a lot of people in a good way. I felt that way growing up.

"It's something I've always been interested in doing -- helping out the poor, the needy, the handicapped. Someday, I'll set up something on my own."

Marshall was busy spreading the fund-raising proceeds of different Cubs events around Chicago.

The 2009 grants include $400,000 to organizations and programs within the Lakeview community surrounding Wrigley Field and more than $375,000 to Chicago Park District summer programs, such as Inner City Youth Baseball and the Cubs Care Rookie League. One of the programs in Lakeview receiving support, the Lake View YMCA after-school program, provides affordable after-school care to about 200 children at six Lakeview-area locations at a time when family budgets are challenged by the weak economy.

Among the other agencies receiving checks from Marshall and Co. are Domestic Violence Legal Clinic, Emergency Fund, Family Rescue, Inc., Jewish Council for Youth Services, Korean-American Women in Need, Lakeview Pantry, Lincoln Park Community Shelter, National Runaway Switchboard, Night Ministry, North Side Housing and Supportive Services, and the Women's Sports Foundation. Marshall won't adopt that many causes when he sets out on his own to help others. But he probably won't limit himself to one cause.

"I know I can do a lot of things to help others," he said. "I'll find something, maybe a couple of different things. I helped the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation a couple of years ago with a number of events. My theory is, as a pitcher, I'm here to help the team win. Same thing with the community."

-- Red Line Editorial