Major League Baseball today announced the 30 winners of the 2012 Honorary Bat Girl program, which recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrate a commitment to “Going to Bat” in the fight against the disease. The winner of the Honorary Bat Girl Contest for the Pittsburgh Pirates is Angie Thompson.
Thompson was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was pregnant with her third child. She and her husband, Toby, raised three kids, Tyus, Lacy and Colton, while Angie was going through chemotherapy treatments. According to her sister, she would teach her online students, take the kids to their sporting events and concerts, even if she was tired, she never complained, never missed the kid’s events and was in great spirits every day.
The kids along with her husband have helped her through this tough year and a half. She is a lifelong Pirates fan and now celebrates being cancer free. Thompson will be recognized by the organization on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13, as she will be invited on the field pre-game to meet Pirates players and coaches as well as be recognized in a special pre-game ceremony. She will be named the Pirates “Fan of the Game” and have the opportunity to change a base with the PNC Park grounds crew in the third inning.
Thompson is one of the 30 winners, one for each MLB Club, who will take part in pre-game activities, be honored during an on-field ceremony, and will receive pink MLB merchandise and two tickets to the game. Each winner was selected by a Guest Judging Panel that includes MLB players and celebrities in addition to fan votes casted on HonoraryBatGirl.com.
Nine- time Grammy award winner Bonnie Raitt , who lost her brother and close friends to cancer, recorded a special video at the MLB Fan Cave to lend her support to the Honorary BatGirl initiative and the ongoing fight to eradicate the disease. The video, which will run online and in-stadium, can be seen at MLB.com.
The Guest Judging Panel who helped select the 30 winners included MLB players Joe Blanton of the Philadelphia Phillies, whose mom is a breast cancer survivor; Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves, whose aunt passed away from lung cancer; Howie Kendrick of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, whose best friend’s mom is a breast cancer survivor; and Barry Zito of the San Francisco Giants, whose mom was affected by cancer. Also on the Guest Panel was MLB Network host Chris Rose, who has several close friends who have been affected by the disease; international soccer star Mia Hamm, supporter of the Honorary Girl Initiative with former MLB player and current ESPN analyst Nomar Garciaparra, whose grandmother passed away from breast cancer; actor James Denton of Desperate Housewives, who lost his mother to breast cancer.
Also on Mother’s Day, hundreds of MLB players are expected to use pink bats by Louisville Slugger, the official bat of Major League Baseball , stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo. To further demonstrate their support for the breast cancer cause, players and on-f ield personnel will wear the symbolic pink ribbon on their uniforms along with pink wrist bands. Commemorative dugout lineup cards also will be pink.
The Honorary Bat Girl Contest 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 2006, Major League Baseball created the “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” program. Since its beginnings, MLB has continued to grow the program throughout the League and with all 30 Clubs to honor those affected by the disease. Along with MLB licensed partners and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, MLB raises awareness about the breast cancer cause. Game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats from Mother’s Day games that have been authenticated by MLB will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com to benefit cancer research. To learn more about Major League Baseball’s charitable initiatives visit MLBCommunity.org.