Yogi to be honored at B.A.T. fundraiser
By Mark Newman / 12/13/12 12:15 PM ET
It will be like déjà vu all over again on Jan. 22, when Yogi Berra is the center of attention in New York.
The Baseball Assistance Team will honor the 87-year-old Hall of Famer, longtime Yankees catcher and World War II D-Day veteran at its 24th annual "Going to Bat for B.A.T. Fundraising Dinner" at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square. The dinner is the largest fundraising event for B.A.T., an organization dedicated to helping members of the baseball family who are in need.
"B.A.T. has helped many members of the baseball family over the years, and that makes this honor really special for me," said Berra, owner of 10 World Series rings. "I'm hoping to see a lot of old friends at the dinner, and if I can help encourage people to donate to this great cause, that's a great thing, too."
"The Baseball Assistance Team is proud to honor the legendary Yogi Berra, whose legacy is one of baseball's greatest treasures," B.A.T. president Gary Thorne said. "Yogi has believed in B.A.T.'s mission from the very beginning. We are pleased to offer fans the opportunity to thank him for all he has given to the great game of baseball, while also having the opportunity to raise money to help others who need help and have nowhere else to turn."
That event will be worth the price of admission just to hear what Berra has to say. After all, he once said, "I never said most of the things I said." So you never know what he might say ... if he said it. And that is just the beginning of the many reasons to be there for this one.
Mets left-hander Johan Santana will receive the Big B.A.T./Frank Slocum Award, which goes to an individual who provides financial support and generosity to the B.A.T. organization. Yankees right-hander Joba Chamberlain will be recognized with the Bart Giamatti Award, which goes to a person in baseball who best exemplifies the compassion demonstrated by the late Commissioner.
The Yankees and D-backs are the respective American League and National League recipients of the Bobby Murcer Award, which is presented to the team in both the AL and NL whose players commit the most amount of money to B.A.T. during the Spring Training Fundraising Tour. This is the first time the D-backs have won the award, while this is the fourth consecutive year the Yankees have won.
Fans at this fundraiser are given the opportunity to interact with Hall of Famers and former and current Major League Baseball players while raising money to go toward assisting members of the baseball family who have fallen on hard times. The night's festivities include a cocktail hour at which attendees have the opportunity to meet and receive autographs from legends and Hall of Famers, and players are seated with guests at each table during the dinner. All proceeds from the evening go to B.A.T.
Grammy Award-winning recording artist Chrisette Michele will perform the national anthem prior to the dinner.
B.A.T. was founded in 1986 by former Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, a group of former players and MLB. The organization is dedicated to assisting members of the baseball family through financial grants, health-care programs and rehabilitative counseling, with more than $26 million in grants awarded to date benefiting more than 3,000 members of the baseball family who are in need of assistance. All aid provided by B.A.T. is strictly confidential, allowing those in the need to receive help discreetly.
"Players in our era didn't make the multimillions that the guys are making today," Hall of Famer Tom Seaver said at last year's B.A.T. dinner. "There are guys in need that can't be helped, and there is a lot of money in this industry that can be used to support them. They gave their lives to the game that they loved, and they appreciate the help."
In addition to assisting former Major Leaguers, B.A.T. also offers support to former Major League managers, coaches, scouts, umpires, athletic trainers, front-office personnel, Minor League Baseball players and personnel, Negro Leagues players, players from the Women's Professional Baseball League and spouses and children.