Final AFL Joe Niekro Foundation update

Hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween weekend. While we were out picking up candy on Saturday, Arizona Fall League pitchers were collecting K’s for one last day as part of Aneurysm Awareness Week.

The Arizona Fall League was teaming up with the Joe Niekro Foundation for a great
fundraiser/awareness-raiser last week. Any pitcher from one of the
seven organizations Joe Niekro pitched for who strikes out a batter
this week helps raise money for aneurysm awareness and research. Four
sponsors agreed to donate $36 (Niekro’s number during his playing
days) per strikeout. That’s $144 per K.

The participating pitchers saved the best for last, racking up 17 K’s on Saturday, the most for any one day this week. Here’s how it broke down:

Steve Hirschfeld, Twins (Solar Sox) — 2 K
James Russell, Cubs (Solar Sox) — 1 K
Andrew Oliver, Tigers (Javelinas) — 1 K
Thad Weber, Tigers (Javelinas) — 1 K
Evan Englebrook, Astros (Saguaros) — 1 K
Brandon Gomes, Padres (Saguaros) — 2 K
Craig Kimbrel, Braves (Saguaros) — 2 K
Jeff Lyman, Braves (Saguaros) — 3 K
Zach Kroenke, Yankees (Rafters) — 4 K
Day total: 17 K x $144 per K = $2448
Grand total: 77 K= $11,088

Keep in mind, these are unofficial numbers and the league will be sure to confirm the amount. Whatever it is, it was a great week for a wonderful cause. If you watch MLB Network’s broadcast of the Rising Stars Showcase on Saturday, Nov. 7, you might be able to see Natalie Niekro on hand for the check ceremony.

And she might be able to celebrate more than just the $11,000+ from the fundraiser. Several teams, when they found out about the week’s events, agreed to step up and make a donation in honor of their pitchers performing in the Fall League. The Cubs, Astros and Yankees all said they would make a donation, particularly if their pitchers struck out the most batters this week. Details to come on just what’s being done — and if other teams agree to join in. Here’s how the standings finished:

Yankees — 15 K
Tigers — 15 K
Astros — 10 K
Braves — 10 K
Cubs — 9 K
Twins — 9 K
Padres — 9 K

And, in case you were curious. Here were the individual leaders:

Robbie Weinhardt, Tigers — 7 K
Zach Kroenke, Yankees — 6 K
Andrew Oliver, Tigers — 5 K
8 pitchers tied with 4

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