More than 1,400 players, coaches and managers from all 30 MLB Clubs have collectively pledged a record donation of $2,643,195 to the Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.) during the organization’s 13th 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 ($1,412,290) and Grapefruit League ($1,230,905) set records for each respective Spring Training site, and this year’s tour brought the Spring Training fundraising total to more than $20 million pledged over thirteen years.
During the tour, representatives from B.A.T., including former All-Stars Randy Winn, who is the President of the B.A.T. Board, and ”Sudden” Sam McDowell, visited various clubhouses to inform clubs about the mission of B.A.T. and the support the organization provides. Baltimore Orioles All-Star center fielder Adam Jones, who is on the B.A.T. Board, spoke on behalf of the organization to his teammates. They were joined by several B.A.T. grant recipients who shared stories of the positive effects the charitable organization has had on their lives and the lives of their family members.
“The Baseball Assistance Team thanks everyone at the clubs for their generosity toward our efforts to help members of the baseball family who are in need,” said Winn. “We are very grateful for the support from the entire baseball industry, especially Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, which allows our organization to continue offering assistance discreetly and thoroughly.”
B.A.T. is also announcing the Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers as the recipients of the 2015 Bobby Murcer Award, which is 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 (Tigers) and National League (Dodgers) whose players commit the most amount of money to B.A.T. This is the fourth time the Dodgers organization has won (2010, 2011, 2013), while this is the first time for the Tigers. The Dodgers and Tigers succeed 2014 Bobby Murcer Award recipients, the Philadelphia Phillies and Cleveland Indians, respectively.
Several MLB players provided their reactions to the B.A.T. Spring Training presentations via Twitter:
@DatDudeBP (Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips): “#SpecialThanks to @BATcharity for being there for us, the #BaseballFamily!!! Always the best seeing you guys!!! #GreatTimes”
@redturn2 (Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Justin Turner): “I want to recognize @BATcharity for coming out today and thank them for everything they do for the baseball community! #HEROES”
@HecSantiago53 (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher Hector Santiago): “@BATCharity I just wanna be able to let others know about this great organization helping the baseball family #team pic.twitter.com/Tnm9OGJBh0”
The Baseball Assistance Team, now in its 30th year, is a unique organization within the sports industry that is 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 $30 million in grants to date, benefiting more than 3,200 members of the Baseball Family, including former Major League players, managers, coaches, scouts, umpires, athletic trainers, Major & Minor League 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.