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Minnesota Twins’ Torii Hunter, Fellow Major Leaguers Pledge Support to Little League Urban Initiative

Courtesy of the
Minnesota Twins

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (June 14, 2006) – “The Torii Hunter Project,” a collaboration between the All-Star outfielder of the Minnesota Twins and several other current Major League Baseball players, has pledged support to the Little League Urban Initiative.

Joining Mr. Hunter in making financial contributions to the Urban Initiative, Little League’s endeavor to bring the benefits of the program to families in urban areas, are former Little League Baseball World Series player and current New York Yankee, Gary Sheffield, Twins teammates Rondell White and Shannon Stewart, along with Derrek Lee of the Chicago Cubs, the Baltimore Orioles’ LaTroy Hawkins, Ken Griffey, Jr., of the Cincinnati Reds, and the Seattle Mariners’ Carl Everett and Matt Lawton.

“The Torii Hunter Project has the potential to broaden the scope of the Little League Urban Initiative by infusing more resources into Little Leagues in urban areas throughout the country,” Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “To have Major League Baseball players take it upon themselves to provide such strong support to this initiative is a testament to how much this game means to them, and how much they want more children to have the same opportunity.”

The commitment by these Major Leaguers will afford four Little League Urban Initiative teams the unique opportunity to visit the 2006 Little League Baseball World Series, Aug. 24-26, and play games against each other on the Little League International complex.

Coming to the World Series will be Little League all-star teams from North Richmond Little League (Richmond, Va.); Wilkinsburg Little League (Pittsburgh, Pa); Walter “Pop” Smith Little League (New Haven, Conn.); and Pelham Parkway Little League (The Bronx, N.Y.).

“Torii Hunter and his fellow Major Leaguers have stepped up to the plate in an effort to draw attention to the dwindling diversity in baseball, but more so their intent is to simply keep children playing baseball – Little League thanks them for that,” David James, director of the Urban Initiative, said. “Appreciating the mission and purpose of the Little League Urban Initiative, the Torii Hunter Project has firmly placed its support behind the program. Through these contributions, special events like the annual Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree will continue to be possible.”

The Torii Hunter Project also will support the 2007 Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree. The Jamboree annually provides 10 regular-season teams from leagues aided, or chartered through, the Urban Initiative, the chance to travel to Little League International from various points throughout the country for a weekend full of games, instruction and plenty of fun. In 2007, the fourth annual Jamboree will welcome 16 teams to Williamsport, Pa., home of Little League Baseball and Softball.

For more information on Torii Hunter Project, log on to: www.ToriiHunter48.com. To find out more about the Little League Urban Initiative log on to Little League’s website at: www.littleleague.org.

Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.7 million players and 1 million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries.

NOTE: High resolution photos of Mr. Hunter are available to the media at: http://www.littleleague.org/media/images/toriihunter.jpg.

Courtesy of the USA Today