BALTIMORE -- New Cubs manager Joe Maddon joked Friday night that he better get used to this cold. The former Tampa Bay Rays manager braved the chilly temperatures in Baltimore where, along with Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, he was honored with the Aspire Award at the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation's 11th Annual Aspire Gala.
Maddon, who spent nine years with Tampa Bay, graciously accepted the award and was extremely appreciative of all the assistance the Ripken Foundation, represented by Cal Ripken, Jr. Friday night, has given to his Hazleton Integration Project.
The Aspire: A Tribute to Life's Coaches is an annual fundraising event to support the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation and its programs. The event draws more than 800 attendees with numerous celebrity guests to honor notable figures in business, entertainment and sports. The Aspire Gala has grown in scope each year, and it has now become one of the largest single-day fundraising events in Maryland, raising $2.3 million in 2014.
Ripken, Jr. said attracting people like Maddon and Winfield is part of what keeps the event growing year to year, and he was humbled by how the foundation has grown from helping several children to a regional and national level.
Founded in 2001, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation has impacted over 800,000 kids nationwide through its Youth Development Park initiative and Badges for Baseball programming.
In addition to Winfield and Maddon's awards, distinguished attorney, diplomat and Army Air Force veteran George W. Haley was honored with the Cal, Sr. Award.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.