Major League Baseball and Natural Balance Pet Foods hosted the 23rd annual “Going to Bat for B.A.T.” Fundraising Dinner on Jan. 24 at the Marriot Marquis in Times Square.
The Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.) raises money to assist members of the baseball family who have fallen on hard times with financial grants, healthcare programs and rehabilitative counseling.
This year’s dinner celebrated the 50th anniversary of our beloved New York Mets. Notable Mets alumni were on hand for the festivities, including players from the World Champion teams of 1969 and 1986, some original 1962 Mets and of course many others in between.
Additionally, the event is always well attended by Hall of Famers, specifically the following: Luis Aparicio, Orlando Cepeda, Ralph Kiner, Goose Gossage, Juan Marichal, Joe Morgan, Phil Niekro, Jim Palmer, Tony Perez, Gaylord Perry, Mike Schmidt, Sandy Koufax, Tom Seaver and Willie Mays.
Mays created a buzz after joking that he remembered who dinner emcee and Mets great Ron Darling actually was.
“You won 12 games once so that’s fine,” Mays said with a smile to Darling.
On a more somber note, Darling and former Mets broadcaster Gary Thorne shared their memories of the great Gary Carter after a touching video tribute. Everyone in attendance was encouraged to keep “The Kid” in their prayers.
Each year, B.A.T. invites a player affected by the organization’s outreach to speak at the dinner. Former relief pitcher Ricky Stone, who overcame a brain tumor, spoke with his wife, who is an ovarian cancer survivor. Both have been an inspiration and have been able to thrive due to B.A.T.’s support.
Other award winner included former Met Carlos Beltran and Baltimore Orioles young center fielder Adam Jones—both of whom have played an active role in their communities.
Stay tuned for an individual post on Beltran as well as random thoughts from many Mets in attendance.
Click here to view a photo slideshow from the event.