The Baseball Assistance Team presented its annual Bobby Murcer Award amid the gradual closing of Spring Training to Cleveland in the American League and New York in the National League.The Indians and Mets are your 2017 league champions.No, that is not an Opening Day prediction, although it does have feasible
The Baseball Assistance Team presented its annual Bobby Murcer Award amid the gradual closing of Spring Training to Cleveland in the American League and New York in the National League.
The Indians and Mets are your 2017 league champions.
No, that is not an Opening Day prediction, although it does have feasible merit. In this case, it is the outcome announced on Thursday by the Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.), which presented its annual Bobby Murcer Award to Cleveland in the American League and New York in the National League.
The award is named after the former B.A.T. chairman and late Yankees legend, recognizing the team in each league whose players, manager and coaches pledged to contribute the most amount of money to B.A.T during the 2017 Spring Training Fundraising Tour.
The annual tour was founded by Murcer to raise money for members of the baseball family in need of assistance. This marks the first time the Mets organization has won the award and the second time for the Indians, who were previously recognized in 2014. These clubs succeed the D-backs and Tigers, who were the '16 recipients.
Nearly 1,600 players, coaches and managers from all 30 teams in the Majors have collectively pledged a record donation of nearly $2.9 million to B.A.T. during the organization's 15th annual Spring Training Fundraising Tour. The donations are made through MLB's payroll deduction program, allowing players to provide funding for B.A.T. throughout the course of the season.
Collective donations from teams in the Cactus League and the Grapefruit League brought this year's Spring Training fundraising total to nearly $27 million pledged over 15 years. During these spring tours, B.A.T. representatives visited various clubhouses to inform clubs about the mission of the organization and the support it provides. They were joined by several B.A.T. grant recipients, who shared stories of the positive effects the charitable organization has had on their lives and the lives of their family members.
B.A.T. is also announcing the addition of five-time All-Star Torii Hunter and Tim Brunswick, vice president of baseball and business operations at Minor League Baseball, to its board of directors. Hunter and Brunswick join current B.A.T. board members, including Orioles All-Star center fielder Adam Jones, 10-time All-Star Steve Garvey, former 17-year catcher Buck Martinez and four-time All-Star Sal Bando.
Former All-Star outfielder Randy Winn was re-elected president of the B.A.T. board of directors and will serve a three-year term.
"The Baseball Assistance Team is grateful to all the clubs, players, coaches and managers, especially those from the Cleveland Indians and the New York Mets, who continuously demonstrate their support of the organization and our mission," Winn said. "I am also thrilled to welcome two new board members. Tim Brunswick, vice president of baseball and business operations at Minor League Baseball, and Torii Hunter, a three-time Robert Clemente [Award] nominee. Tim's impact with Minor League Baseball is an invaluable asset to us and Torii's contributions off the field, demonstrated by his work in the community, is exemplary and a perfect preparation for his work with B.A.T. With the support we have received from Major League Baseball, the clubs and the MLB Players Association, we have no doubt that we will continue to grow and assist as many members of the baseball family as possible."
The Baseball Assistance Team, now in its 32nd year, is a unique organization within the sports industry. Through charitable contributions, 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 resources and rehabilitative counseling.
In 2016, B.A.T., a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization, assisted a record amount of applicants (236). To date, the organization has awarded more than $35 million in grants, benefiting more than 3,600 members of the baseball family, including current and former on-field Major & Minor League personnel (players, managers, coaches), as well as scouts, umpires, athletic trainers, MLB and MiLB front-office personnel, Negro League players and players from the Women's Professional Baseball League.
B.A.T.'s coverage also extends to widows and children, ages 23 and under, of the aforementioned groups. 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 and Facebook.com/BaseballAssistanceTeam, and follow @BATcharity.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog.