JUPITER, FL (March 4, 2013) –Matt Holliday and David Freese announced today a new home opener event as part of their second annual Homers for Health fundraising effort. On April 8, Game Ball Relay (GBR13) will kick off the 2013 home run pledge program Powered by Peabody Energy to benefit SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center. Holliday and Freese also welcomed a new member of the Homers for Health team, Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig. All three players were part of the kickoff announcement following today's spring training game against the Minnesota Twins.
"Thanks to our amazing fans across Cardinals Nation, we knocked Homers for Health out of the park last year," said Cardinals left fielder Holliday. "With David back and Allen joining us, we're hoping to secure more pledges, have more fun and help even more Cardinal Glennon kids get back in the game."
The first of its kind across Major League Baseball, GBR13 will be presented by BMO Harris Bank and begin from the Rawlings World Headquarters in Chesterfield. It will then weave through the streets of St. Louis, eventually reaching Busch Stadium in time for the home opener ceremonial first pitch. The ball will be carried by a series of celebrity runners, including Ozzie Smith, Craig Virgin (Olympian and World Champion and former Cardinal Glennon patient) as well as current patients and their caregivers.
"We are thrilled to partner with Cardinal Glennon on GBR13," said Dino Cannella, Senior Vice President of BMO Harris Bank, St. Louis. "Knowing Cardinals fans and the rich baseball history in St. Louis, we are sure this will become one of the biggest opening day celebrations across the major leagues."
GBR13 will make its way past the medical center on South Grand Boulevard, where thousands of fans are invited to join the relay as it makes its way downtown, concluding with a pep rally and watch party outside Union Station. "To continue GBR13 with fans joining at Cardinal Glennon to a big party at Union Station is a fun way for everyone to get in on the excitement of the home opener, while also helping a great hospital save lives," Canella said. The final half mile leg to Busch Stadium will occur prior to the opening ceremonies and first pitch.
This year, Cardinals fans will also have a special opportunity to celebrate the life of Stan 'The Man' Musial. Those who make a pledge of $6 or more per home run will receive name recognition on a seven-foot commemorative #6 display in honor of the legendary Cardinal. Musial was a longtime supporter of SSM Cardinal Glennon, serving as chairman of an ambulatory care expansion program in 1975, raising $5 million in just a few months. "Following in Stan's footsteps is truly an honor for all three of us," said hometown favorite Freese, who announced the memorial pledge at today's press conference. "We proudly take his lead and will continue to help these amazing and brave kids in his memory." Homers for Health is "Powered by" Peabody Energy, which stepped up to the plate as presenting sponsor of the program for 2013.
"Peabody witnessed the far-reaching impact that Homers for Health made in our greater community last year, and we are excited to play an even larger role in Cardinal Glennon's mission to help kids," said Greg Boyce, chairman and chief executive officer of Peabody Energy. "We all want to see healthy children, and every home run that is hit by the Cardinals will be a win for the patients and families at the hospital."
Also new this year is the Homers for Health season "ticket" which offers retail discounts, giveaways and promotions to all who make a pledge of any size. Pledge forms will be available at all Dierbergs and Johnny Mac's stores beginning March 15, but fans can pledge online at glennon.org starting today.
Holliday and Freese co-chaired Homers for Health in 2012, raising $3,000 per home run and bringing in more than $480,000 for SSM Cardinal Glennon. Pledges poured in from 36 states and four foreign countries in support of the medical center. "We have seen the power of Cardinals Nation and this year we hope to secure a pledge from every state in America," Holliday said.
Homers for Health is Powered by Peabody, with additional support from Dierberg's, KTVI Fox2/KPLR11, FMNewsTalk 97.1, KHITS96, K-SHE95, Johnny Mac's Sporting Goods, Taubman Prestige Outlets, The Gatesworth, Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory and STLtoday.com.