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 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2007 > >Mike Mussina Receives Thurman Munson Award

>Mike Mussina Receives Thurman Munson Award

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Jan. 31, 2007) – Throughout his playing career, New York Yankees’ pitcher Mike Mussina has strived to help his team succeed on the field, and impact the lives of those less fortunate when not in uniform. Recently, he was recognized for his philanthropic efforts with the Thurman Munson Award.

Mike Mussina of the New York Yankees, a member of the Little League International Board of Directors, was recently awarded the Thurman Munson Award for his volunteer efforts through The Mike Mussina Foundation and other charitable and not-for-profit organizations.

In its 27th year, the annual awards dinner hosted by the Association for the Help of Retarded Children (AHRC) has become a staple in New York City; helping raise more than $8 million to assist children and adults with developmental diseases. The Thurman Munson Award, named in memory of the late Yankee catcher, is presented each year to several athletes for their excellence in competition and for their efforts in the community.

“Mike Mussina has been a Yankee for six years now, and he exemplifies all that is good about wearing the pinstripes,” Jason Zillo, Yankees spokesman, said. “His contributions on the field are obvious, but his work in the community often times goes unnoticed. Mike is a Yankee in the truest sense of the word.”

Growing up in Montoursville, Pa., only a few miles from Little League International, Mr. Mussina played in Montoursville Little League, and went on to earn a degree in economics from Stanford University in 1991. During his 16-year Major League career, he has established himself as one of the game’s premier pitchers. He has 239 lifetime wins and 2,575 strikeouts placing him fifth and seventh respectively among active Major League pitchers.

Mr. Mussina, a member of the Little League International Board of Directors, has volunteered his time to various organizations, including the College Bound Foundation, the Lycoming County (Pa.) Chapter of the American Red Cross, Junior Achievement, literacy programs, and Montoursville High School. In 2000, he established The Mike Mussina Foundation to benefit children and children’s charities.

“Mike is deserving of such accolades, and Little League congratulates him on receiving this award,” Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “During his time as a Little League volunteer, Mike has expressed a consistent will to improve and advance the program. His voice as a member of our board of directors, and activism through his foundation, has benefited many children and local leagues.”

At the 2004 Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, The Mike Mussina Foundation conducted a ticket raffle in conjunction with The John Deere Worldwide Commercial and Consumer Equipment Division. A portion of the raffle’s proceeds were earmarked for the recovery efforts of several Florida Little Leagues that were ravaged by hurricanes, and were combined with a donation from Mr. Mussina’s foundation. In 2005, he donated baseball gloves to participants in the annual Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree.

Mike is on the local board of directors of the Montoursville Little League, and is the first person elected to the Little League International Board of Directors who has played in the Major Leagues.

Also honored at this year’s Munson Awards Dinner were New York sports stars Rich “Goose” Gossage (former Yankees relief pitcher), Carlos Delgado (Mets first baseman), Curtis Martin (Jets running back,) and Patrick Ewing (former Knicks center). In past years, the event has honored such notables as Mets manager Willie Randolph, Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera, Muhammad Ali, Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum inductees Yogi Berra, Willie Mays and Tom Seaver, tennis legend Arthur Ashe, Knicks greats Willis Reed and Earl Monroe, and former Rangers’ hockey standouts Mark Messier and Mike Richter.

A six-time all-star, Mr. Munson was the 1970 American League Rookie of the Year; and in 1976 was named the league’s most valuable player. A gritty, no-nonsense type of player he was the starting catcher on the Yankees’ World Series championship teams in 1977 and 1978. Mr. Munson’s No. 15 is retired by the Yankees, and his locker at Yankee Stadium has been maintained since his 1979 death in a plane crash.