‘Four Horsemen’ battle breast cancer through tour
Billing themselves as “The Four Horsemen,” a quartet of LeTourneau baseball players recently visited a baker’s dozen of Major League Baseball stadiums and appropriately celebrated Mother’s Day at the Baseball Hall of Fame -- all as part of an effort to raise funds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
After setting up a Web site to collect donations, the student-athletes set out May 5 from Longview, Texas, and were joined by a teammate for the East Coast portion of the trip. They dedicated the trip to grandmothers who have had breast cancer and generated significant publicity for the trek -- ranging from a interview broadcast during a game on the Kansas City Royals’ giant video screen in Kauffman Stadium to appearances on the nationally syndicated radio program Big D and Bubba to a feature story about the foursome on MLB.com.
They also were invited onto Wrigley Field while the Chicago Cubs were away before traveling across town for a White Sox game, perched atop the Green Monster and saw a game in Fenway Park courtesy of Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Bucholz, and participated in fan trivia and sumo wrestling contests before a Durham Bulls crowd that included recent presidential candidate John Edwards.
“It’s extremely hard to pick out the best part of the trip, because every day seemed to get better and better,” said Aaron Bearden, a second baseman for the YellowJackets.
Bearden and three of his teammates -- outfielder Ethan Cravalho, pitcher and outfielder Ed Hurta, and outfielder Ryan VanZandt -- also visited Yankee Stadium in their tour of 13 Major League Baseball ballparks, which ended at Arlington Stadium in Texas. They were joined for part of the trip by catcher Andrew Waller.
They raised more than $2,000 for the Tyler, Texas, affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure from friends and other donors who learned of the trip, through a link provided at the players’ MySpace page.
A highlight of the trip was a tour of the Baseball Hall of Fame on Mother’s Day, where they emulated baseball players who wore pink jerseys in games around the country that day by donning pink themselves. They posed for a photo with the pink bat that Cincinnati Reds pitcher Brandon Claussen hit a single with during a Mother’s Day 2006 game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
“The ballparks are one thing. But it’s cool that I’m able to do this in honor of my grandmother,” Cravalho told MLB.com during the visit.
“The fact that I was able to travel around the country with my best friends, living out a dream to see all those stadiums, and raise money to fight a disease like breast cancer made the trip amazing, memorable and priceless,” Bearden said after the foursome’s return to Texas.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association