The 34th Annual Thurman Munson Awards, which remember the late, great Yankees captain, will be presented at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on Tuesday night, February 4, 2014, and the honorees announced today are: New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner; former Yankees “Perfect Game” hurler and YES Network broadcaster David Cone; pitching great and baseball broadcaster Jim Kaat of MLB Network; New York Mets pitcher Dillon Gee; New York Knicks Hall of Fame forward Bernard King; and New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle. The AHRC New York City Foundation, which assists children and adults with disabilities, benefits from the gala.
Nicholas S. Schorsch, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, American Realty Capital Properties, and William M. Kahane, Chief Executive Officer, RCS Capital, will receive the “Corporate Hero” Awards.
The awards and dinner pay homage to the late, great Yankees catcher and captain Thurman Munson. Diana Munson, Thurman’s widow, will attend her 34th consecutive benefit, having been involved since its inception. The Thurman Munson Awards Dinner has raised more than $12 million for programs that serve New York City children and adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The Thurman Munson Awards are presented for success on the field of play and philanthropic works off the field.
The AHRC New York City Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that supports programs enabling children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead richer, more productive lives, including programs of AHRC New York City. AHRC New York City is one of the largest organizations of its kind, serving 15,000 children and adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injuries and other disabilities.
About the honorees:
Brett Gardner: Brett Gardner debuted in the Major League in 2008 with the New York Yankees. Deft in the larceny department, Gardner has 161 career stolen bases to go along with his .268 career batting average and 23 homeruns in six major league seasons. In 2013, he had a .273 batting average with career highs in runs batted in and home runs, with 52 and 8 respectively. Gardner was a key cog in the Yankees in 2009 World Series championship with a .270 batting average and 26 stolen bases. The speedy outfielder is a native of Holly Hill, SC, where he played college baseball at the College of Charleston, and later drafted in the 3rd round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft. After walking on the team, the 5’10’’ 185 lbs outfielder helped lead the team to a berth in the NCAA tournament with a .447 batting average. Off the field, Gardner makes regular visits to ailing children at the New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.
David Cone: David Cone, the strikeout artist who endeared himself to New York Yankees fans for his gutsy clutch performances and for hurling a perfect game in 1999, returned to his current YES Network post as a Yankees analyst for the 2011 season. Upon his retirement from the game, Cone joined the YES Network team during its inaugural year in 2002. He later returned to YES for the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Cone compiled a 194-126 record, 3.46 ERA and 2,688 strikeouts in his 17-year major league career. He captured the American League Cy Young Award in 1994 and was a five-time All-Star (1988, 1992, 1994, 1997 and 1999). The Kansas City, Mo. native, known for coming up big in critical games, posted an 8-3 post-season record and played on five world championship teams: the 1992 Blue Jays and the 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 Yankees.
Jim Kaat: Jim Kaat is a color commentator for the “MLB Network Showcase” game telecasts, following a distinguished baseball broadcasting career and 25 years as a Major League pitcher. Kaat debuted for MLB Network with Bob Costas in 2009, providing color commentary for the new Yankee Stadium’s opening game. Kaat has twice been nominated for a Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Personality – Event Analyst, for his work on MLB Network’s live game telecasts. Kaat made his Major League debut in 1959 with the Washington Senators. Over his 25-year playing career, he compiled 283 wins with an an ERA of 3.45 with six teams. Kaat was a three-time All-Star, won a record 16 consecutive Gold Glove Awards and won the World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1982. Kaat did commentary for MSG and YES from 1995 to 2006, and won a New York Emmy for Outstanding Live Sports Coverage Series in 1998. Kaat has won seven Emmy Awards for sports broadcasting and has been nominated for many more.
Dillon Gee: Dillon Gee, 27, made his major league debut with the Mets in 2010, going 33-26 with a 3.89 ERA in 84 games, 81 starts since. He won a career-best 13 games in 2011, and led the Mets with 12 wins and 199 innings in 2013. The 6’1, 205 lb. native of Cleburne, TX was drafted in the 21st round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he helped the Mavericks to a berth in the NCAA tournament the year before. Off the field, Gee, a son of a Fort Worth, Texas fireman, is heavily involved with many charities in his adopted home city. During the season, the righthander lives in Long Island City and is active with many 9/11 charities including Tuesday’s Children, a group that serves children affected by the terrorism around the globe. Gee also visits numerous firehouses during the year and is a major supporter of the Viscardi Center, an organization that provides programs and services for the disabled.
Bernard King: Hall of Fame forward Bernard King, one of the most explosive scorers of his era, enjoyed a 14 year NBA career, playing for the New Jersey Nets, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and Washington Bullets. The 6’7’’ small forward was a four-time All-Star. Despite major knee constructive surgery at the height of his abilities, Bernard had a prolific career, scoring over 19,600 points and grabbing 5,060 rebounds, leading him to one scoring title in 1985 and being named MVP of the 1983-1984 season by Sporting News. Before being chosen as the 7th overall pick in the 1977 NBA Draft, King played for the University of Tennessee, where he was chosen as the SEC Player of the Year three times. The native of Brooklyn was elected into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on September 8, 2013.
Antrel Rolle: A two-time Pro Bowl selection and Giants Super Bowl champion, Antrel Rolle is a key member of Big Blue’s defensive corps at the safety position. Originally a 1st round (8th pick overall) draft choice by the Arizona Cardinals in 2005, he was signed by the Giants on March 5, 2010. Rolle has 4 career touchdowns on interception returns, and was a Pro Bowl selection in 2009 and 2010. Entering the 2013 season, Rolle has started 48 consecutive regular-season games, the 2nd-longest active streak on the Giants behind Eli Manning’s 135 starts in a row. He has as started all 10 postseason games in which he’s played, including Super Bowls XLIII and XLVI. In postseason play, he has 44 tackles (32 solo), one interception returned 47 yards, three passes defensed, and two fumble recoveries, including a 27-yards for a touchdown.