Major League Baseball has announced the winners of the 2016 Honorary Bat Girl contest, which recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and who demonstrate a commitment to supporting the fight against the disease. The Honorary Bat Girl for the Braves is Carol Thomas of Guntersville, Ala. Thomas has been battling breast cancer since 2013 and is now in her third round of chemotherapy. On May 8, Thomas and a friend will enjoy a tour of Turner Field, as well as a meet and greet with Braves players and Braves wives.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman served on the Guest Judging Panel which helped select the winning submissions based on the following criteria: originality, quality of writing, demonstration of commitment to breast cancer awareness and public appeal (as determined by online fan votes).
Fans from across the United States and in Canada shared inspirational stories of hope and motivation in their experiences in the fight against breast cancer, as well as the reasons they, or their nominees, should represent their favorite team. The complete list of winners is located in the below chart and each of the winners' stories can be found on HonoraryBatGirl.com.
The Honorary Bat Girl program was introduced in 2009 to raise additional awareness and support for the annual "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative celebrated on Mother's Day. In eight years, thousands of unique testimonials have been submitted and more than 3 million fan votes have been cast. Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer is a Major League Baseball initiative supported by MLB charitable partners, Stand Up To Cancer and Susan G. Komen. This initiative raises awareness about the breast cancer cause, while also raising funds to support breast cancer research.
On Mother's Day, players and on-field personnel will wear the symbolic pink ribbon on their uniforms along with pink wrist bands. Players also will wear specially-designed uniforms that incorporate pink into the Clubs' regular logos. Commemorative base jewels and dugout lineup cards also will be pink. Games will feature a pink-stitched Rawlings baseball, the official ball of MLB, as the official game ball. Many MLB players also will use pink bats, and pink Louisville Slugger bats, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball, will be stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo. Many authenticated, game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats and other pink items from Mother's Day games will be auctioned exclusively onMLB.com/MothersDayAuction to benefit the fight against breast cancer.