Aneurysm Awareness Week and the AFL
As if a new week of Arizona Fall League action wasn’t enough, games starting today have some extra meaning, thanks to a joint effort by the AFL and the Joe Niekro Foundation.
It was three years ago today that Joe Niekro, the All-Star and knuckleball expert, had a brain aneurysm that cost him his life. His daughter, Natalie, has worked tirelessly to set up the foundatoin to raise awareness and money for aneurysm research.
Here’s how the week will work. Joe Niekro played for seven Major League teams over the course of his career. Any time any pitcher strikes out a batter this week in the AFL, four different sponsors will donate $36 each to the foundation. For those of you who don’t want to do the math, that’s $144 for eavery K.
Natalie herself will throw out the first pitch at three different games during the week. Then, on Nov. 7 — Joe Niekro’s birthday — she’ll be at the Rising Stars Showcase (which will be broadcast on the MLB Network) to accept the check from the fund-raising effort. You can read more about the effort in the story I wrote that went up today.
I’m going to keep a running tally on here of how much has been raised via the strikeout efforts by those seven organizations’ pitchers. Here are the teams and the pitchers with each club:
Cubs (Solar Sox) — Andrew Cashner, John Gaub, Blake Parker, James Russell
Padres (Saguaros) — Mike DeMark, Steve Garrison, Brandon Gomes, Evan Scribner
Tigers (Javelinas) — Scot Drucker, Andrew Oliver, Thad Weber, Robbie Weinhardt
Braves (Saguaros) — Lee Hyde, Craig Kimbrel, Jeff Lyman, Mike Minor,
Astros (Saguaros) — Evan Englebrook, Chia-Jen Lo, Wilton Lopez, Daniel Meszaros
Yankees (Rafters) — Grant Duff, Michael Dunn, Ian Kennedy, Zach Kroenke,
Twins (Solar Sox) — Alex Burnett, Steve Hirschfeld, Mike McCardell, Spencer Steedley
Today, Mike McCardell will get things going. He’s starting for Mesa today.