McCann to be celebrated at Munson Awards

Yankees to honor veteran catcher, closer Miller and former hurler Abbott at 36th annual benefit

McCann to be celebrated at Munson Awards

NEW YORK -- Shortly after the ink on Brian McCann's deal was dry, Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner paid his new catcher just about the best compliment any Yankee could ask for, comparing his demeanor and toughness to that of the great Thurman Munson.

A quick trip to the history books showed McCann just how meaningful a statement that was. He will be among the notable New York sports figures to be celebrated at the 36th Annual Thurman Munson Awards on Feb. 9, paying homage to the late Yankees captain. Current Yankees closer Andrew Miller and former pitcher Jim Abbott will also be honored.

Additionally, Mets closer Jeurys Familia and 1986 Mets closer Jesse Orosco scored invitations to the gala, which benefits the AHRC New York City Foundation and its ongoing work to assist children and adults with disabilities.

The Thurman Munson Awards are presented for success and inspiration on the field of play and community outreach off the field. While with the Braves, McCann created the "Brian McCann Home Run Challenge" to impact the lives of children battling cancer, and he has been involved in the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research.

"It's a great feeling to know that every time that I do something on the field, it's helping other people," McCann said. "It's one of the best causes that you could possibly be interested in donating to. It's for the kids. These kids are fighting for their lives, and it's a special, special thing to be a part of."

Active with the Yankees' "HOPE Week" community-outreach program during his first season in New York, Miller has also supported the "Strike 3 Foundation" in its research for children with cancer, and Charity Day for the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, a foundation that supports victims of terrorism.

Born without a right hand, Abbott's inspirational career included throwing a no-hitter for the Yankees against the Indians on Sept. 4, 1993. Abbott has since worked with The Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) on several initiatives encouraging businesses to hire people with disabilities.

Diana Munson, Thurman's widow, will attend her 36th consecutive benefit, having been involved since its inception. The Thurman Munson Awards Dinner has raised more than $14 million for programs that serve New York City children and adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Michael Kay, the voice of the Yankees on YES Network and an ESPN Radio 98.7 FM host, will serve as master of ceremonies.

AHRC New York City Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports programs enabling children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead richer, more productive lives, including programs of AHRC New York City. One of the largest organizations of its kind, AHRC New York City serves 15,000 children and adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injuries and other disabilities.

For tickets and information on the Munson Awards Dinner, visit www.ahrcNYCfoundation.org/events.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.