More than 1,400 players, coaches and managers from all 30 MLB Clubs have collectively pledged a record donation of $2,523,650 to the Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.) during the organization's 12th annual Spring Training Fundraising Tour to raise money for members of the Baseball Family in need of assistance. The donations 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 ($1,297,900) and Grapefruit League ($1,225,750) set records for each respective Spring Training site. This year's tour brought the Spring Training fundraising total to more than $17 million pledged over twelve years.
During the tour, B.A.T. representatives and former All-Stars, including President Randy Winn, Vice President Bob Watson, Sal Bando and "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): "#ALLREADY! Thanks again 4 all u do 4 the #BaseballFamily"
@ElvisandrusSS1: (Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus): "Such amazing history and a great man Timmy @Batcharity let's keep helping #giveback #HappyFriday"
@TheRealHos35 (Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer): "Thank u guys for all u do for the baseball fam!"
@TheJK_Kid (Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis): "Great Cause!"
@DHuddy41 (Arizona D-backs starting pitcher Daniel Hudson): "really love what you guys do! Thanks!"
@Mcode38 (San Francisco Giants outfielder Michael Morse): "one of the best programs around #baseballfamily"
@Cuban2727 (Cincinnati Reds Brayan Peña): "You guys are great for people who need assistance. Very proud to help and support such a great cause!!! Thank you!!!"
"As we conclude another fundraising tour during Spring Training, all of us at the Baseball Assistance Team would like to thank the players, managers, coaches, general managers and staff for their generous donations toward our efforts to help members of the baseball family who are in need," said B.A.T. President and former Major League All-Star outfielder Randy Winn. "We continue to be grateful and appreciative of the support of the entire industry, including Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, to allow our organization to continue our mission of offering assistance discreetly and thoroughly."
B.A.T. is also announcing the Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies as the recipients of the 2014 Bobby Murcer Award, which is the first time either Club has won the 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 (Indians) and National League (Phillies) whose players commit the most amount of money to B.A.T.
The Baseball Assistance Team, now in its 29th 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 $29 million in grants to date, benefiting more than 3,100 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.