Bobby Murcer passed away last summer, but his legacy will remain in baseball for years to come, and the Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.) made one of the first official announcements in that regard Thursday.
B.A.T. announced the creation of The Bobby Murcer Award, which will be presented to the team in both the American League and National League whose players contribute the most amount of money to B.A.T. through the Major League Baseball Payroll Deduction Program. The award will be presented during the 2010 Annual B.A.T. Dinner.
"Bobby was very proud of the work he accomplished for B.A.T.," said Kay Murcer, widow of Bobby Murcer. "Our family is deeply grateful that his legacy will continue in such a tremendous way through the B.A.T. organization."
Through the Payroll Deduction Program, Major League and Minor League players and coaches can donate a portion of their salary to the B.A.T. organization. In 2001, as a member of the B.A.T. board, Murcer led the charge and began the yearly practice of visiting MLB clubs during Spring Training to update the current-day players regarding the goals and objectives of B.A.T. These meetings laid the groundwork for annual Spring Training visits to ask for financial support from the players, and have generated $5.5 million in revenue for B.A.T since 2003.
The 2009 tour will begin in Arizona on Wednesday and conclude in Florida in late March, with B.A.T. representatives visiting the 30 clubhouses asking players and coaches for their financial support and help in identifying members of the baseball family in need.
"We are honored to establish this award in memory of Bobby Murcer's giving and inspirational spirit," said B.A.T. executive director and COO Jim Martin. "Although Bobby passed on at the young age of 62, his efforts and commitment to the B.A.T. organization will live on through those he left behind and serve as a perfect example of how things should be done. He is greatly missed, but never forgotten."
B.A.T. was founded in 1986 to assist former Major League players but has expanded its assistance over the years. In addition to assisting ex-Major League players, B.A.T. also offers support to former Major League managers, coaches, scouts, umpires, front office personnel, Minor League players, Negro League players, their widows and children and players from the Women's Professional Baseball League.
All aid provided by B.A.T. is strictly confidential, allowing those in the need to receive help discreetly. Through charitable contributions from corporations, foundations and individuals, B.A.T. strives to provide a means of support to members of the baseball family in need. For more information about B.A.T. or to make a donation please visit: http://www.baseballassistanceteam.com.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.