More than 1,400 players, coaches and managers from all 30 MLB Clubs have collectively pledged a record donation of $2,457,710 to the Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.) during the organization's eleventh annual Spring Training Fundraising Tour to raise money for members of the Baseball Family in need of assistance. The donations, which surpassed last year's record by more than $175,000, will be made through the MLB Payroll Deduction Program, allowing players to provide funding for B.A.T. throughout the course of the season. Collective donations from players in the Cactus League ($1,261,720) and Grapefruit League ($1,195,990) set records for each respective Spring Training site. This year's tour brought the Spring Training fundraising total to more than $15 million pledged over eleven years.
During the tour, B.A.T. representatives and former All-Stars, including President Randy Winn, Vice President Bob Watson and Board Member "Sudden" Sam McDowell, visited various clubhouses to inform and educate Clubs on the mission of B.A.T. and the support the organization provides. They were joined by several B.A.T. grant recipients who shared stories of the positive effects B.A.T. has had on their lives and the lives of their family members.
Several MLB players provided their reactions to the B.A.T. Spring Training presentations via Twitter:
@DatDudeBP (Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips): #YeaBuddy…It's ALWAYS great seeing @BATCharity do AMAZING things for the baseball family in need! GREAT charity. GREAT people. #ALLREADY"
@JakePeavy_44 (Chicago White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy): @BATCharity Good seeing you boys today!! Thanks for all you do on behalf of all of us!!
@Jeremy_Hefner53 (New York Mets pitcher Jeremy Hefner): "If you get a chance check out @BATCharity. Great organization (whose) helping hand stretches across the globe!"
@Cuban2727 (Detroit Tigers catcher Brayan Peña): "We all need to show LOVE to the B.A.T. organization, BASEBALL ASSISTANCE TEAM. Great job those guys are doing for the entire BASEBALL FAMILY."
@MrPriddles (Baltimore Orioles outfielder Jason Pridie): "Great presentation today @BATCharity - words can't describe how amazing what you do for the baseball family is. Great job."
@TheFortMcKenry (Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Michael McKenry): "@BATCharity it's always a honor to be associated with your charity. You guys do great things. #blessedbeyondbelief"
"At the conclusion of another Spring Training, all of us here at the Baseball Assistance Team would like to thank all of the players, managers, coaches, general managers and staff for their generous donations," said B.A.T. President and former Major League All-Star outfielder Randy Winn. "All of your contributions allow our organization to continue assisting members of the Baseball Family in their time of need. We appreciate the endless support of both Major League Baseball and the MLBPA in helping our organization grow and achieve great things."
"The current players were overwhelmed by the attendance and participation of the managers, coaches and Hall of Famers during our presentations," said Joseph Grippo, Executive Director of B.A.T. "The impact of seeing Sandy Koufax sit alongside Dodgers players, for example, is immeasurable and a major reason why so many players at all levels of the organization contributed."
B.A.T. is also announcing that the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers are the recipients of the 2013 Bobby Murcer Award. Named after the former B.A.T. Chairman who introduced the Spring Training Fundraising Tour, the award is given to the team in both the American League (Yankees) and National League (Dodgers) whose players commit the most amount of money to B.A.T. This is the fifth consecutive year that the Yankees have won the award and the third time in four years for the Dodgers. Both Clubs will be presented with the Bobby Murcer Award at the 25th annual "Going to Bat for B.A.T. Fundraising Dinner" in 2014.
The Baseball Assistance Team, now in its 28th year, is a unique organization within the sports industry dedicated to confidentially assisting members of the Baseball Family who are in need with nowhere else to turn. Through charitable contributions from corporations, foundations and individuals, B.A.T. strives to provide a means of support to people with financial, psychological or physical burdens. B.A.T.'s assistance takes a variety of forms including financial grants, healthcare programs and rehabilitative counseling.
B.A.T., a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization, has awarded more than $28 million in grants to date, benefiting more than 3,000 members of the Baseball Family, including former Major League players, managers, coaches, scouts, umpires, athletic trainers, front office personnel as well as Minor League players, Negro League players, players from the Women's Professional Baseball League and widows, spouses and children, ages 23 and under. All aid provided by B.A.T. is strictly confidential, allowing those in need to receive help discreetly. For more information about the Baseball Assistance Team or to make a donation, please visit: BaseballAssistanceTeam.com, Facebook.com/BaseballAssistanceTeam or Twitter.com/BATcharity.