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04/10/06 6:00 PM ET

Yankees Universe helps kids

T-shirt sales will benefit programs at Sloan-Kettering

NEW YORK -- Brian Cashman entered the Sony Stadium Club at Yankee Stadium sporting a "Yankees Universe" T-shirt over a button-down, with the sleeves on his dress shirt rolled up mid-forearm.

He could have been mistaken for a Williamsburg hipster.

And the Yankees wouldn't mind if the look is soon replicated within the trendy Brooklyn neighborhood. The Yankees, along with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, announced Monday a fundraising initiative to support research and treatment for children with cancer. They will be selling limited edition "Yankees Universe" T-shirts with all net proceeds being donated to the newly established Yankees Universe fund for pediatric cancer research, education and patient care at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.

"The Yankees are proud to partner with Memorial Sloan-Kettering, the foremost cancer research and treatment center in the world," said Yankees owner George M. Steinbrenner III. "This exciting program will help many kids and their families lead a better life."

Cashman, manager Joe Torre and Hall of Famer Yogi Berra were on-hand during a brief press conference to announce the initiative. Cashman and Torre, as well as Dr. Richard O'Reilly, chairman of the department of pediatrics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, each gave brief speeches about the initiative and the partnership it entailed.

Cashman focused his remarks on how the initiative was just one of many providing additional funding to Memorial Sloan-Kettering. He encouraged support for the "people of the future," through this and any other available avenue. O'Reilly followed and reminisced about his own childhood memories of baseball and its power to comfort and bring joy to youth, no matter how dire one's circumstances.

Torre took the stage and made reference to his own bout with prostate cancer in 1999. He called Memorial Sloan-Kettering and the Yankees the two most important teams in his life during the last 11 years. Torre said that cancer is a word that scares you, but when you find out the kind of work people are doing to discover a cure, it's very reassuring.

"The only way they're going to get better is to do more research," Torre said. "That's where the cures are, that's where the abilities to extend people's lives are."

After the speeches, Torre, Berra and Cashman engaged in a meet-and-greet session with numerous Memorial Sloan-Kettering patients and their families. Cameras snapped photo after photo of kids beaming ear to ear.

"This is the Yankee universe," O'Reilly said. "And as far as I'm concerned, there's no better place to be."

Ben Couch is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.