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 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2004 > Garth Brooks’ Teammates for Kids Foundation Goes to Bat for Little League Challenger Division

Garth Brooks’ Teammates for Kids Foundation Goes to Bat for Little League Challenger Division

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (June 10, 2004) – The Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation, together with 28 current and former Major League Baseball players, has established a $2 million endowment to provide annual support to the Little League Baseball Challenger Division beginning with the 2005 season.

The Teammates for Kids Foundation was co-founded in 1999 by country music star Garth Brooks and foundation president Bo Mitchell. It exists to develop and implement concepts that generate funds for children’s charities.

To date, The Teammates for Kids Foundation has donated more than $37 million to various charities. On Saturday, Aug. 21, during the 2004 Little League Baseball World Series, “The Mighty Casey,” a 14-foot bronze rendition of the fabled slugger from the iconic baseball poem “Casey at the Bat,” will be unveiled in recognition of this endowment to Little League International.

“Garth Brooks and I are very excited to be partners with Little League in the Mighty Casey project,” said Mr. Mitchell. “To see 28 Major League players join together to help expand the Challenger Division is truly an inspiration. It is our hope that everyone who sees Casey in the years to come will be as encouraged as we are to see baseball, kids and charity all come together for such a great cause.”

The statue is one of four crafted by sculpture Mark Lundeen of Loveland, Colo. It will stand proudly outside of Howard J. Lamade Stadium as a reminder that The Teammates for Kids Foundation is giving “Casey” another chance to hit one out of the park for the children who play in the Challenger Division.

The Major League players are all contributing partners to the Touch ‘em All Division of The Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation.

In 2003, more than 350 Major League Baseball players pledged their support to make a difference in the lives of children across the country. In addition to these MLB players, the Teammates for Kids Foundation has many different “teammates” all over the world. Among these teammates are professional hockey players and football players, celebrities, corporations, other foundations, and fans.

“With this endowment, the Teammates for Kids Foundation acknowledges and appreciates the benefit of the Challenger Division,” said Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball. “This statue will stand as a symbol for those people who have set aside the limitations of their disabilities for the opportunity to experience the emotional development and fun that comes with playing Little League Baseball.”

The Major League players and their families, who have contributed to the “Touch ‘em All” division of the Teammates for Kids Foundation have donated based on their on-field performance in a particular category. They are: Bruce and Kim Bochy; Andy and Tracy Ashby; Jeff and Cindy Brantley; Kevin and Candace Brown; Sean and Mandi Casey; Steve and Amy Finley; Keith and Mandy Foulke; Jason and Kristian Giambi; Jeremy and Naia Giambi; Mark and Tanya Grace; Jason and Dana Grimsley; Mike and Kautia Hampton; Shea and Jessica Hillenbrand; Sterling and Carrey Hitchcock; Al and Lori Leiter; Greg and Kathy Maddux; Matt and Erica Mantei; Kevin and Rena Millwood; Eric and Kim Milton; Mike and Robyn Myers; Rick and Dee Reed; Harold Reynolds; Reggie and Wyndee Sanders; Curt and Shonda Schilling; Mike and Shara Sweeney; Steve and Sarah Trachsel; Larry and Angela Walker; and Todd and Julianne Zeile.

The Challenger Division is Little League’s fastest-growing division, with more than 25,000 participants annually. This groundbreaking program enables every child the opportunity to participate in a structured athletic program – regardless of their ability. It also helps to establish strong bonds of friendship and understanding between Little Leaguers from other programs and Challenger children in an atmosphere of sharing and caring.

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.