Beltran hosts '80s-themed fundraising gala

Beltran hosts '80s-themed fundraising gala

NEW YORK -- On Sunday night inside Manhattan's Gotham Hall, past the red carpet lined with New York Islanders cheerleaders, giant Rubik's Cubes, rows of handmade cigars and a $900 bottle of wine, Carlos Beltran ran his hands through his newly purchased hair.

Earlier that afternoon, as he made his return to the Yankees' lineup, Beltran's head was shaved. Then he went shopping.

"I needed to put something on my head so people can laugh, people can have fun," said Beltran, who also picked up a white tuxedo jacket, a turquoise bow tie and an oversize pair of sunglasses.

Beltran dressed the part to host his second-annual fundraising gala, themed "The '80s Strike Back," raising money for the Carlos Beltran Foundation, which supports a baseball academy in Puerto Rico and promotes education for low-income families.

"This event is about creating awareness to the things we're doing, but also raising some money to continue to help," he said.

Last year a Caribbean-themed gala raised approximately $450,000 for the foundation, with 350 people in attendance.

A handful of current Yankees attended this year's event, which featured some slightly off-target 1980s-themed fashion choices. Most of the roster was still in elementary school then. Some hadn't yet started.

Michael Pineda, who was born in 1989, left his blue floral shirt unbuttoned, all the better to see an oversize gold dollar sign hanging from his neck. Atop his head he balanced a bright-yellow wide-brimmed hat.

Chris Young (born in 1983) showed up in a black sweatsuit. Andrew Miller (1985) turned a hat backward and wore multicolored sunglasses in the dim hall.

"My wife picked it out for me," Miller said. "It seems to fit the required dress code, just trying to have a little bit of fun."

As the band from Broadway's "Rock of Ages" opened the night, a smattering of New York sports celebrities roamed. Most were drawn immediately to row after row of sports memorabilia, including dozens of signed bats and jerseys from Major Leaguers. Each item was put up for silent auction, with proceeds going to the Carlos Beltran Foundation.

Speaking over a stream of 1980s hits, Beltran explained why he's always made time for charity work. His foundation has now held 12 such galas, and about 150 students have graduated from his academy in its five years.

"I think about what would happen to me if I wouldn't have been able to make it to where I am," Beltran said. "You've got to go to school. You've got to educate yourself."

Beltran then thanked a teammate for coming and disappeared into the crowd, his new mullet bouncing with each step.

Alden Woods is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.