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Blue Jays and Nationals receive B.A.T.'s 2019 Bobby Murcer Award

Each club donated the most in its league during spring fundraising; players, managers and coaches from all 30 clubs donated a record $3.4 million
March 21, 2019

The Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.) has named the Toronto Blue Jays and the Washington Nationals recipients of the 2019 Bobby Murcer Award, which recognizes the team in each League whose players, managers and coaches pledge to contribute the most amount of money to B.A.T during the annual B.A.T. Spring Training

The Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.) has named the Toronto Blue Jays and the Washington Nationals recipients of the 2019 Bobby Murcer Award, which recognizes the team in each League whose players, managers and coaches pledge to contribute the most amount of money to B.A.T during the annual B.A.T. Spring Training Fundraising Tour. The Award is named after the former B.A.T. Chairman who launched the fundraising tour to support the organization in its mission to assist members of the Baseball Family in need of medical, financial or psychological help. This marks the first time the Blue Jays have received the Award in the American League, while the Nationals are being recognized for the second consecutive year on behalf of the National League.

Nearly 1,600 players, coaches and managers from all 30 MLB Clubs have collectively pledged a record donation of $3.4 million to B.A.T. during the organization’s 17th annual Spring Training Fundraising Tour. Collective donations from teams in the Cactus League and the Grapefruit League brought the Spring Training fundraising total to more than $33 million pledged over sixteen years. During this year’s Spring Training Fundraising Tour, B.A.T. representatives – including Board Members Sal Bando (four-time All-Star third baseman; 16-year MLB career), Buck Martinez (17-year MLB catching career; play-by-play announcer for the Toronto Blue Jays), Sam McDowell (six-time All-Star pitcher; 15-year MLB career), and Christine O’Reilly (Vice President, Community Relations & Executive Director, Chicago White Sox Charities) – visited various clubhouses to inform clubs about the mission of the organization and the support it provides. They were also joined by B.A.T. Addiction Recovery & Mental Health Consultant Tim McDowell (four-year MiLB career) and several B.A.T. grant recipients who shared stories of the positive effects the charitable organization has had on their lives, as well as the lives of their family.

“As players, we know how important B.A.T. is to everyone involved in this game,” said Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. “The baseball community is lucky to have a group that will lend assistance and do what they can for those in need. I’m proud of the Washington Nationals organization, my teammates, coaches and staff who continue to donate on a yearly basis. We are honored to accept this award for the second straight year and we pledge to contribute year in and year out.”

Toronto Blue Jays Manager Charlie Montoyo said: “This award means a lot to me personally, for myself and my family, as well as to our entire Blue Jays’ organization.”

“We are extremely grateful to Major League players, managers and coaches for their continued dedication to the Baseball Assistance Team,” said Randy Winn, B.A.T. President and 13-year Major League Outfielder. “It is because of their generosity that we are able to confidentially provide support with medical, financial or psychological burdens to members of our Baseball Family. In particular, we congratulate the Blue Jays and Nationals organizations for being recognized as our Bobby Murcer Award recipients this year. We also cannot thank our B.A.T. recipients enough for their willingness to relive their stories that have helped personalize the work our organization is able to provide.”

The Baseball Assistance Team is a unique organization within the sport dedicated to confidentially assisting members of the Baseball Family who are in need through charitable contributions in a variety of forms, including financial grants, healthcare resources and rehabilitative counseling.

Additionally, funding for B.A.T. is directed towards the newly-launched B.A.T. Scholarship Program, which awards former Major League and Minor League Players in financial need with assistance as they pursue collegiate, vocational or other advanced degrees following their playing career. The program, which will allocate $500,000 for scholarships during the 2019-2020 academic calendar, is designed to promote financial self-sufficiency by supporting former players’ career growth goals.

In 2018, B.A.T., a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization, assisted a record amount of applicants (470) with over $4.5 million in grants. To date, the organization has awarded more than $42 million in grants, benefiting more than 4,300 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, Major & Minor League front office personnel, Negro League players, and players from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. B.A.T.’s coverage also extends to widows, widowers and children, ages 23 and under, of the above 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, please visit: BaseballAssistanceTeam.com, Facebook.com/BaseballAssistanceTeam or Twitter.com/BATcharity.