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Selig honored by anti-PED group

Selig honored by anti-PED group

NEW YORK -- Commissioner Bud Selig was named the first recipient of Taylor's Award, presented by the Taylor Hooton Foundation to an individual who has made a major impact on efforts to educate and protect American youth from the dangers of using performance-enhancing drugs.

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Selig was given the award on Thursday morning during the quarterly owners' meetings at Major League Baseball's offices. The award and foundation are named in honor of the high school baseball pitcher and cousin of former Major League hurler Burt Hooton who committed suicide in 2003 after using steroids.

The award is a small glass bat on a dark, wooden pedestal.

"I'm extremely proud to present the first Taylor's Award to Commissioner Bud Selig," said Don Hooton, Taylor's father, who serves as president of the Hooton Foundation, said at a media conference after the joint session. "Baseball's investment exceeds that of every other organization in the United States, including the federal government. We're proud of the work we've done. We reaching hundreds of thousands of kids. We need to reach millions of kids. But this all would not have been possible without the leadership of Commissioner Selig.

"I don't know if we'll ever do another [award], but we know where the first one is going."

Don Hooton gave emotional testimony about his son's plight at a 2005 Congressional hearing in Washington, D.C., at which Selig and players Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Jose Canseco, Frank Thomas, Curt Schilling and Rafael Palmeiro also appeared.

"That was a painful day, there's no question about that," Selig at the same media conference. "I sat down and Don was the first speaker. I must tell you that I was overcome with emotion. I had to take a walk after that. He talked about the death of his son. What steroids had done. It was going on in his son's bedroom and they didn't know about it. It was tough, very tough."

Months later, MLB became a founding sponsor of the Hooton Foundation, initially providing a $1 million contribution. In 2008, MLB gave to the Foundation its full weight of promotional support, plus another $1.5 million grant, to pursue an aggressive grassroots anti-steroid educational program.

"We've invested more in this than anybody else," Selig said. "And a lot of this is because of Don Hooton. I thank you and I'm honored to be given this award."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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