Major League Baseball today announced the 31 winners of the 2014 Honorary Bat Girl Contest that recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrate a commitment to eradicating the disease. The winner of the Honorary Bat Girl Contest for the Cleveland Indians is Charlene Wuthrich, who will be recognized in a pre-game ceremony on Sunday, May 18.
Charlene is one of each MLB Club's selected winners who will take part in pre-game activities, be honored during an on-field ceremony, and will receive pink MLB merchandise and two tickets to the game.
Charlene, a life-long Indians fan from Sullivan Township who has had sheep named after Tribe players, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987. She had a double mastectomy performed in 1988 and since has worked tirelessly as an advocate for those dealing with cancer. She has facilitated the cancer support group at Ashland's Samaritan Hospital, where she's been a nurse for over 25 years. She's also worked on the mobile mammogram van and twice has been chosen as the American Cancer Society's Nurse of Hope.
Fans from across the country and Canada shared inspirational stories that provide hope and motivation in the fight against breast cancer, as well as the reasons they or their nominees should represent their favorite team. The Honorary Bat Girl winners were selected by fan votes on HonoraryBatGirl.com along with feedback from a Guest Judging Panel that included Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays, Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves, Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants, country music superstar and Atlanta Braves fan Jason Aldean, and Sam Ryan, MLB Network host and reporter.
Players and on-field personnel will wear the symbolic pink ribbon on their uniforms along with pink wrist bands. Commemorative base jewels and dugout lineup cards will also be pink. Games will use a pink stitched Rawlings baseball, the official ball of MLB, as the official game day baseball. Numerous MLB players will use pink bats and pink Louisville Slugger bats, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball, will be stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo. Many of the game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats from Mother's Day games that have been authenticated by MLB will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com to benefit the fight against breast cancer.
The Honorary Bat Girl program was introduced in 2009 to raise additional awareness and support for the annual "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative celebrated on Mother's Day. In five years, thousands of unique testimonials have been submitted and more than 4 million fan votes have been cast. Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer is a Major League Baseball initiative supported by its charitable partners Stand Up To Cancer and Susan G. Komen. This initiative raises awareness about the breast cancer cause, while also raising funds to support breast cancer research.