The Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.) has named the Cleveland Indians and the New York Mets recipients of the 2017 Bobby Murcer Award for the American League and National League, respectively. The Award, which is named after the former B.A.T. Chairman honors the team in the American League (Cleveland) and National League (New York) whose players, managers and coaches pledge to contribute the most amount of money to B.A.T during the 2017 Spring Training Fundraising Tour. The annual tour was founded by Murcer to raise money for members of the Baseball Family in need of assistance. This marks the first time the New York Mets organization has won the Award and the second time for the Cleveland Indians, which received the A.L. recognition back in 2014. The Clubs succeed the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Detroit Tigers, which received the Award in 2016.
Nearly 1,600 players, coaches and managers from all 30 MLB Clubs have collectively pledged a record donation of nearly $2.9 million to B.A.T. during the organization’s 15th annual Spring Training Fundraising Tour. The donations are 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 teams in the Cactus League and the Grapefruit League brought this year’s Spring Training fundraising total to nearly $27 million pledged over fifteen years. During Spring Training Fundraising Tours, B.A.T. representatives visit various clubhouses to inform clubs about the mission of the organization and the support it provides. They are also 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.
B.A.T. is also announcing the addition of former five-time All-Star Torii Hunter and Vice President of Baseball & Business Operations at Minor League Baseball Tim Brunswick to its Board of Directors. Hunter and Brunswick join current B.A.T. Board Members, including Baltimore Orioles All-Star center fielder Adam Jones, former 10-Time MLB All-Star and N.L. MVP Steve Garvey, former 17-year MLB veteran catcher Buck Martinez, and former four-time All-Star Sal Bando. During his 19-year career, Hunter was a member of Detroit Tigers, the Los Angeles Angels and the Minnesota Twins organizations, and won nine consecutive Gold Glove awards before retiring in 2015. Additionally, former All-Star outfielder, Randy Winn, was re-elected as President of the B.A.T. Board of Directors and will serve a three-year term.
“The Baseball Assistance Team is grateful to all the clubs, players, coaches and managers, especially those from the Cleveland Indians and the New York Mets, who continuously demonstrate their support of the organization and our mission,” said Winn. “I am also thrilled to welcome two new board members. Tim Brunswick, Vice President of Baseball & Business Operations at Minor League Baseball and Torii Hunter, a five-time All-Star and three-time Robert Clemente nominee. Tim’s impact with Minor League Baseball is an invaluable asset to us and Torii’s contributions off the field, demonstrated by his work in the community, is exemplary and a perfect preparation for his work with B.A.T. With the support we have received from Major League Baseball, the Clubs and the MLB Players Association, we have no doubt that we will continue to grow and assist as many members of the Baseball Family as possible.”
The Baseball Assistance Team, now in its 32nd year, is a unique organization within the sports industry that is dedicated to confidentially assisting members of the Baseball Family who are in need. Through charitable contributions, 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 resources and rehabilitative counseling.
In 2016, B.A.T., a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization, assisted a record amount of applicants (236). To date, the organization has awarded more than $35 million in grants, benefiting more than 3,600 members of the Baseball Family, including current and former on-field Major & Minor League personnel (players, managers, coaches) as well as scouts, umpires, athletic trainers, Major & Minor League front office personnel, Negro League players, and players from the Women’s Professional Baseball League. B.A.T.’s coverage also extends to widows and children, ages 23 and under, of the above groups. 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.