All 30 Major League teams participated in the Mother's Day initiative "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer," with special programs in the ballparks hosting games and dozens of players using commemorative pink bats that will be auctioned to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.
Every Rangers starting player used a pink bat during Sunday's 7-6 comeback victory over the Angels at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Each club has a goal of raising at least $25,000 for breast cancer education and research. Last year, Major League Baseball's total donation was $325,000.
Mark Teixeira's mother Margy is a breast cancer survivor, so Sunday's campaign carried special meaning for the Texas first baseman.
"It's very important for me," Teixeira said. "With what my mother went through, and with the Susan G. Komen foundation doing so much good for women around the world, it's important to me."
Teixeira was one of about 50 players planning to brandish the pink bat on Mother's Day 2006, but the Rangers' game with the Red Sox that day was rained out. He said it was gratifying to see more than 200 players signed up to use the pink bats this year.
"I applaud Major League Baseball and the different bat companies for stepping up and making sure that enough players get the pink bats," he said. "Because it's not easy to whip up bats and then paint them and send them out to guys in the middle of the season. So I think MLB, Louisville Slugger, Rawlings and the others need to get a lot of credit also."
Select game-used bats, as well as team-autographed bats from every club, will be auctioned on MLB.com at a later date, with proceeds benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Fans also can purchase their own personalized pink bat at MLB.com, or www.slugger.com, with Major League Baseball donating $10 from the sale of each bat to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
The initiative continues through Saturday, and fans are encouraged to make their own pledge at www.komen.org/mlb. Donations made in the name of a specific team will be earmarked for programs in that team's local community to support breast health and breast cancer awareness. Major League Baseball Charities has pledged an additional $50,000 donation on top of the fan donation total.
Also being auctioned on MLB.com at a later date will be the commemorative pink home plate and lineup cards used Sunday in each ballpark. Team retail stores and online shops also are selling limited numbers of New Era caps with pink team logos and Soft as a Grape T-shirts with pink team logos. While supplies last, Mother's Day bathrobes with the MLB pink ribbon logo will be given as a free gift with purchases of $150 or more at club retail shops at all big-league ballparks.
Rangers catcher Gerald Laird said he was proud to participate in such a worthy cause.
"It means a lot," Laird said. "It just shows appreciation to your mother for Mother's Day and all the things women go through. My mom was there my whole life, and no one could replace your mother. So to have one day for her to swing a pink bat means a lot to me.
"It's spread really well. I think it's something that needs to be done, to show appreciation for where you came from and the people who gave you the opportunity to be where you're at. I think it's a really good cause, and I'm glad a lot of players and a lot of teams are allowing us to do this."
Several wives and girlfriends of Rangers players, coaches, trainers and staff also joined in Sunday's efforts, handing out pink Mother's Day visors to the first 10,000 fans through the gates. Among the participants were Misty Blalock, Dana Wilkerson, Crystal McHale (Nelson Cruz's girlfriend), Jillian Kata, Tess Kinsler, Lindsey Stewart, Janet Sundberg, Katie Connor, Jean Reed and Melony Harmon.
Teixeira said he was glad to see the league and Rangers organization go to such lengths to honor the most important women in their lives on their designated holiday.
"My mom was a great mother, the best mother a guy could ask for," he said. "And my wife is the same way; she's a great mother. My son is very lucky to have her. So [Mother's Day] means a lot to me."
Ken Daley is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.