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#MLBPlayers411: Jason Motte's heart doubles his size

Jason Motte provides relief both on and off the field.

Jason Motte provides relief both on and off the field.

As September marks Pediatric Cancer Awareness month, the 34-year-old right-hander will play an even bigger role than his usual place in the Rockies' bullpen.

Because of his dogged determination, Friday, September 2, will be Strike Out Cancer Day in Major League ballparks, as Motte, the 30 supporting Major Leaguers and other Players will wear their K Cancer T-shirts to their games, in clubhouses and after games. The Players encourage fans to wear their K Cancer shirts that day to create an even louder call to help strike out cancer.

What started as an idea has turned into a movement.

While recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2013, Motte had numerous encounters with patients in the hospital. While he met many different people, it was the children with cancer that struck him the most.

There was one boy, Brandt Ballenger, with whom Motte grew especially close. "Hobo," as Brandt would call Motte due to his burly beard, spent time with Brandt in the hospital, visiting a few times a week while he himself was rehabbing. The hard-throwing reliever looked at his missed season as an opportunity to make a difference in Brandt's life, and for the lives of children like Brandt.

"You can put your head down and say, 'Poor me,'" Motte said to FOX. "But you start doing that, and no one really wants to be around you. I saw it as an opportunity. I thought, 'I don't know why this has happened. But it happened for a reason.'"

Fully aware that players use pink equipment and accessories on Mother's Day to raise awareness for breast cancer and blue on Father's Day to call attention to the prostate cancer cause, Motte was determined to create a platform in baseball for pediatric cancers of all type -- thus the birth of Motte's "Strike Out Cancer" movement.

Through his Jason Motte Foundation, Motte brought the cause to his fellow players and found tremendous support in clubhouses and with clubs across both leagues.

Teaming up with MLBPA apparel licensee 108 Stitches in 2014, Motte began selling "K Cancer" shirts, with a backwards K to designate striking out cancer.

But Motte didn't want to stop there. With 108 Stitches on board and with the support of the MLBPA, Motte enlisted players from all 30 teams to join his fight and help expand the reach of the "K Cancer" effort by selling their own tees. With the purchase of any "K Cancer" T-shirt, eight dollars will benefit the selected player's charity, and two dollars will go toward the Jason Motte Foundation.

The movement began with inspiration, and Motte's desire to make a difference continues to gain momentum three years later.  

To join Motte's and the Players' fight against cancer, you can purchase your own "K Cancer" T-shirt by visiting the 108 Stitches website.


More from #MLBPlayers411:

  • Motte was born in Port Huron, Michigan, but played baseball for Valley Central High School in Montgomery, New York.
  • He attended Iona College in New York, where he was the team's catcher. John Barone, Iona's pitching coach at the time, claimed Motte once threw a 94 mph pitch while wearing his catching shin guards.
  • Motte was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 19th round of the 2003 draft. In the minor leagues, Motte made the move from behind the plate to the mound.
  • Motte led the NL with 42 saves for the Cardinals in 2012.
  • Motte and his wife Caitlin have a child of their own. They have proclaimed Motte as Father of the Year award winner for the fourth consecutive year.
  • He is very active under the Twitter handle @JMotte30.