The Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.) hosted the 21st Annual "Going to Bat for B.A.T. Dinner" on Tuesday, January 26th, 2010. This year's dinner honored the 80th Anniversary of the MVP Award. Hall of Famers and MVP winners Bob Gibson, Robin Yount, Joe Morgan and Orlando Cepeda along with Fred Lynn - one of only two players in Major League Baseball history to win the MVP and Rookie-of- the-Year in the same season - and many other former MVPs and baseball greats were on hand for a great night at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square.
B.A.T. presented three awards: the Bart Giamatti Award, the Big B.A.T. / Frank Slocum Award and the inaugural Bobby Murcer Award at the dinner. Over the years B.A.T. has recognized those for their work off the field rather than for their on-field performance.
The Bart Giamatti Award is awarded to a current day player for his sportsmanship off the field and was presented to Tim Wakefield, well known throughout Major League Baseball as one if the most charitable players. Wakefield has been nominated many times by the Red Sox for the Roberto Clemente Award, presented to the player who best reflects the spirit of giving back to the community. He has been involved in many charitable organizations benefitting children such as New England's Pitching in for Kids organization, a program dedicated to improving the lives of children across the New England region. In 2007, Wakefield released a charity wine called CaberKnuckle in association with Longball Vineyards with 100% of the proceeds supporting Pitching in for Kids and raised more than $100,000. He also partnered with the Franciscan Hospital for Children in Boston to bring patients to Fenway Park to share time with him on the field.
The Big B.A.T. / Frank Slocum Award is given annually to an individual or to a group of individuals who's exemplary service to the B.A.T. organization has helped provide dignity and self-esteem to members of the Baseball Family. Brad Lidge was the deserving recipient of the 2010 Big B.A.T. / Frank Slocum Award for his longtime support of B.A.T.
Mrs. Kay Murcer had the honor of presenting the final award of the night - the inaugural Bobby Murcer Award. The award was named in honor of her husband, the late Major League All-Star, for his contributions to B.A.T. and is awarded to the clubs who commit to the highest contributions to B.A.T. from the National League and the American League. Rising star Hunter Pence was on hand to accept the award on behalf of the Houston Astros from the National League and New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi, fresh off winning the 2009 World Series, accepted the award on behalf of the Yankees from the American League.
To many of the nearly 1200 guests, the highlights of the night were the stirring speeches by newly inducted Hall of Famer Andre Dawson and B.A.T. grant recipient and former Major Leaguer Ricky Stone and his wife Tracey.
Mark your calendar - the 22nd Annual Going to Bat for B.A.T. Dinner will take place on Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.