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Cone to be honored at Safe at Home Gala

Former manager Torre and wife started foundation to battle domestic violence

NEW YORK -- David Cone won four of his five World Series rings while pitching for Yankees manager Joe Torre from 1996-2000, and tonight, the five-time All-Star will be honored at the 13th annual Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation Gala to combat domestic violence -- continuing a busy week on Major League Baseball's benefit-dinner circuit.

Among the many sports and entertainment celebrities expected to be in attendance at the event's new Cipriani location in SoHo are former Yankees Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, Don Mattingly, Tino Martinez, Scott Brosius and David Wells; current Mets manager Terry Collins and Mets legend John Franco; singer Michael Bolton, "Saturday Night Live" Weekend Update co-anchor Michael Che and emcee Lorraine Bracco.

Torre, who is MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, established his foundation in 2002, along with wife Ali, in response to the impact that domestic violence had on Torre and his family. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Torre was the youngest of five children, and as a boy, he stayed away from home out of fear due to his father's abuse of his mother.

"I grew up with domestic violence," Torre told a gymnasium full of high school students at a Safe at Home event in New Jersey earlier this year. "I was a nervous kid growing up. I was afraid of school. I didn't know the work, I just had very low self-esteem. It really wasn't until not too long ago that I went through some counseling and discovered what my dad was doing to my mom in the house -- even though he didn't physically abuse me -- that it was the cause of the fear that I felt and carried into my adult life.

"I felt bad stuff that went on in the house was my fault, that I was causing it. I thought we were the only family in the neighborhood that was going through this, and I never really shared it with any of my friends. Once I discovered that I wasn't born this way and it was caused by what was going on around me, then I wanted to talk about it."

The Torres created the Safe at Home Foundation to help children who are impacted by violence in their homes, schools and communities. In 2005, the Foundation embarked on its programming initiative, Margaret's Place, named for Torre's mother, as a safe room in schools where students can speak to a master's level counselor about the traumas occurring in their lives.

The Safe At Home Foundation has reached more than 50,000 children with more than 21,000 of the children receiving counseling, and there are now 13 Margaret's Place sites in both the Greater New York and Los Angeles areas. This gala is the key fundraiser for operating expenses.

There will be plenty of Cone stories at this one. The right-hander won 20 games for the 1998 World Series champion Yankees, a team which is considered among the best in baseball history. He was 64-40 in six seasons with the Yanks as part of title teams in '96 and 1998-2000. On July 18, 1999, Cone threw the first perfect game in Interleague Play with a masterpiece against Montreal. That came a year after Wells threw a perfect game for the Bronx Bombers, so having those two pitchers in the same place -- not to mention the buzz over Jeter's upcoming nuptials -- will mean plenty to talk about.

The offseason dinner circuit is a big tradition in baseball, and they are well into motion now following events last week to honor Jorge Posada, Paul O'Neil and Alex Rodriguez at the Lou Gehrig Sports Awards Benefit that raised $1.4 million for the ALS Association Greater New York Chapter; and to honor Vin Scully with the George H.W. Bush Distinguished Alumnus Award by the National College Baseball Hall of Fame at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles.

On Tuesday night, the MLB Players Alumni Association was scheduled to stage its 16th annual Legends for Youth Dinner at Capitale in Manhattan, honoring Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, Dodgers legend Carl Erskine and former manager Bobby Valentine. Next up will be the Rawlings Gold Glove Dinner on Friday night at The Plaza in Manhattan, where players collect their hardware and a Platinum Glove Award winner will be named.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of Read and join other baseball fans on his community blog.
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