COLUMBUS, Ga. - On November 18 at 5:30 PM, on the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center's Heritage Walk, Willie Horton, former Major League Baseball star for the Detroit Tigers will receive the first-ever Abner Doubleday Patriot Player Award. This award named in honor of Doubleday, who was a Civil War general and has been recognized as the inventor of baseball, goes to a major leaguer who has made significant contributions in support of the military and or their families.
"Willie Horton's special efforts to support the military in general and their families in particular make him an excellent selection for this award," said LTG Carmen J. Cavezza, US Army (Retired), Chairman of the National Infantry Foundation. A large Heritage Walk Founder Circle granite paver inscribed with Horton's name as the Abner Doubleday recipient will be located under the Michigan Flag Pole. Former Secretary of the Army, Howard "Bo" Callaway will make the presentation.
Known for his support of the military, Horton has participated in several USO tours, including some with Bob Hope during his playing career. Each spring Horton makes it possible for hundreds of military families to attend Spring Training and he regularly participates in clinics for military youth as well as engaging trainees with inspirational personal testimonies during their rigorous schedule.
Detroit Tigers Owner Michael Ilitch added, "Willie Horton is synonymous with the Detroit Tigers. His storied career on the field and his continued dedication to the organization as Special Assistant to the President, coupled with his lifelong efforts to give back to others - especially veterans and military families -- make us all very proud."
Horton's 18-year playing career and seven All-Star selections, along with his key role in the 1968 World Series, put him in baseball's upper echelon. Mr. Bud Selig, Commissioner of Baseball, praised Horton's recognition. "You are truly a hometown hero who has used his considerable platform to benefit others - the heroes of our armed forces, the people of Detroit, our future generations, and those who could use a helping hand."
Other special guests will include Col. Walter E. Piatt, Commandant, United States Army Infantry School, Ft. Benning, Georgia, Detroit Tigers Vice President and Assistant General Manager Al Avila, Manager of Player Relations, Sports and Youth Programs Sam Abrams, and Director of Lakeland Operations Ron Myers. In addition, former Detroit Tigers players Cecil Fielder and All-Star pitcher Edwin Jackson will be in attendance. Jackson, who is from Columbus, will host his third annual Edwin Jackson Mini Baseball Clinic November 19 at the Youth Sports Complex on Ft. Benning and Horton is scheduled to participate.