Major League Baseball, MLB Advanced Media, MLB Network and all 30 clubs raised more than $235,000 for the renovation of an existing youth baseball and softball field in memory of late New York Mets public relations executive Shannon Forde.
Forde passed away at age 44 on March 4 after battling breast cancer for three and a half years. The funds were raised through the PLAY BALL Charity Auction, a combination of online bids and personal donations launched during the Winter Meetings. The field to be renovated is in Forde's hometown of Little Ferry, N.J, and will be renamed "Shannon Forde Field."
Forde was beloved in the Mets organization and around MLB. She was a pioneer for women in baseball, joining the Mets as an intern after graduating from St. John's University in 1994. She rose to become the club's senior director of media relations.
"She fought, fought and fought," Mets manager Terry Collins said after Forde passed away. "She came to work as long as she could. She loved her job and loved the Mets. I have so much admiration for the way she conducted herself the last several years."
Forde is remembered fondly by many current and former Mets with whom she worked during her 22-year career with the organization. Hall of Famer Mike Piazza called her "a wonderful, dedicated member of the Mets family" in a tweet on March 4. Former Mets pitcher Dillon Gee remembered Forde as "a warm, friendly, loving, selfless person."
Former Met Justin Turner recalled Forde's selflessness, even during her battle with cancer.
"Her smile and sense of humor were refreshing, and she had a warmth and kindness about her that was comforting," he wrote after Forde's death. "Even through tough times, she always put everyone else first."
The amount raised was the largest ever for the annual auction, which began in 2012 and has raised more than $900,000 for cancer-related causes. The renovations to the field in Little Ferry will include dugouts with protective fencing and benches, perimeter fencing, bleachers, a backstop, and scoreboard and field signs.
MLB will work with the Borough of Little Ferry and the local Police Activities League on the project.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyRsports This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.