Margie Sabathia-Lanier Selected as 2010 Little League Parent of the Year
Every child depends on an adult figure to guide, mentor and assist them in their development. New York Yankee pitcher CC Sabathia's mom, Margie Sabathia-Lanier, played a large role in molding him into the person he is today, both on and off the field.
"My mom went beyond the call of duty as a Little League mom and was certainly the best mom a kid could have," Mr. Sabathia, who led the American League with 19 wins last season, said. "Not only did she work the snack bar, but she also played catch with me. She would suit up in her catchers gear day after day until one day a pitch I threw came in so hard it was too difficult to handle. Still, she was amazing. She's been my personal pitching coach from those early days in Little League and still is today."
For the commitment and sacrifices made by Mrs. Sabathia-Lanier, she has been selected by Little League Baseball and Softball as the George and Barbara Bush Little League Parent of the Year. She will be recognized at a breakfast and an on-field ceremony during the 2010 Little League Baseball World Series in South Williamsport, Pa. The 64th World Series will be played Aug. 20-29.
"It was an amazing feeling when I received the phone call about receiving this award," Mrs. Sabathia-Lanier said. "It made me think back to CC's younger years. It sure stirred up a lot of wonderful memories.
"I am very appreciative to the Little League organization for picking me out of all the worthy people for this honor," she said. "I will certainly cherish this honor, and continue to assist our local league in any way I can."
The George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year Award was established in 1980 and is presented annually to the parents of a Major League Baseball player who were actively involved in their son's Little League experience. The award is named in honor of the 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush, and former First Lady Barbara Bush. Both were Little League volunteers during their children's early years in Midland, Texas, and continue to support Little League today.
"The role of a parent in the life of their children is many times a daunting challenge," Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. "Mrs. Sabathia-Lanier played an integral role in CC attaining the dream of becoming a Major League player, but also, in his personal development as a quality human being who gives back to others. She stressed the importance of balance in his life and, during his time in Little League, the importance of playing baseball and having fun. We are proud to present Mrs. Sabathia-Lanier with this award."
Mrs. Sabathia-Lanier volunteered for various jobs in the North Vallejo Little League in Vallejo, Calif. when her son was playing. She just recently went back to work for the local league directing the concession stand. Her husband, Al, is in charge of the equipment for the local league.
Even though her son, who was the 2007 Cy Young Award winner and is a four-time All-Star, was always one of the bigger and more talented players, they did not talk about professional baseball.
"My focus for CC when he was young was to enjoy childhood, have fun with his friends, and enjoy playing baseball," Mr. Sabathia-Lanier said. "We didn't talk about professional baseball until late in his high school career.
"When he was young, my fondest memories are of us getting up early on a Saturday morning, with CC already in his uniform, and heading to the ballpark," she said. "We would spend all day at the field. He couldn't wait to play and be around his friends and teammates. Of course, he always had his uniform dirty before the game even started."
CC's father, Corky, who passed away in 2003, was the typical Little League dad serving as a coach for each of his teams while also spending time as a mentor on those trips to the park each weekend and while playing catch in the backyard.
Another thing Mrs. Sabathia-Lanier has impressed on her son since becoming a professional baseball player is the importance of returning to your roots and giving back to those who helped him get to where he is today. CC has taken his mom's advice by providing backpacks to children in the school system he attended. He also has a toy drive each year, he "adopts" a group of kids each Christmas spending the day with them treating them to lunch and a shopping trip, and he provides Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless at a local church.
"I am proud of CC for all the sacrifices he made to reach his dream to become a professional baseball player," Mrs. Sabathia-Lanier said. "But, I am even more proud of the way he willingly gives back to this community and others. In the end, trying to make things better for everyone and giving back is most important.
More than the recognition of one set of parents annually, the George and Barbara Bush Parents of the Year Award is designed to be a symbolic recognition of the millions of mothers and fathers who each year respond to the call of parental duty and help provide a wholesome and healthy arena for leadership training for the children of their respective communities.