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Gregorius, Andujar Among 2019 Munson Honorees
Jerry Milani January 11, 2019NewsComments Off on Gregorius, Andujar Among 2019 Munson Honorees1,081 Views
A star-studded lineup will be honored at the 39th Annual Thurman Munson Awards Dinner on Tuesday night, February 5, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City to benefit AHRC New York City Foundation which assists children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These are the award recipients: New York Yankees standout shortstop Didi Gregorius, Yankees manager and 2003 ALCS hero Aaron Boone, Yankees rookie sensation Miguel Andujar, 1969 New York Mets World Series champion Ed Kranepool (in celebration of the 50thAnniversary), and New York Football Giants two-time Super Bowl champion Zak DeOssie will each receive Thurman Munson Awards.
The gala remembers the late great Yankees captain and catcher Thurman Munson and has raised more than $16 million for the AHRC NYC Foundation which supports programs that enable children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead richer, more productive lives. Thurman’s widow Diana Munson will attend her 39th consecutive benefit, having been involved in the dinner since its inception.
The Thurman Munson Awards are presented annually for success and inspiration on the fields of play, and community spirit off the field.
Gary L. Green, Chief Executive Officer, Alliance Baseball LLC Alliance Building Services, will receive the M. Anthony Fisher Humanitarian Award. Former Yankees and Mets World champion Darryl Strawberry will present the award which recognizes leadership in business and philanthropy, and was named to honor the memory of M. Anthony Fisher, a partner in Fisher Brothers and Co-Founder of AHRC NYC Foundation’s A Special Night for Special Children. Michael N. Rosen, Senior Counsel, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, will receive AHRC NYC Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Kranepool will be presented by his teammate and World Series hero Ron Swoboda.
Michael Kay, the “Voice of the Yankees” on YES Network and host of The Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York Radio 98.7 FM, will serve as Master of Ceremonies.
AHRC NEW YORK CITY – CELEBRATING 70 YEARS OF REALIZING POTENTIAL! AHRC New York City is a family governed organization committed to finding ways for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to build full lives as defined by each person and supported by dedicated families, staff, and community partners. Each year, AHRC New York City touches the lives of over 15,000 individuals throughout the five boroughs. The organization that created the first schools, workshops, day treatment programs, and community residences continues to offer a wide range of programs, services, and supports tailored to meet specific needs.
All of the five honorees are dedicated to community service.
Aaron Boone will forever be remembered in Yankee lore for his Walk Off home run to eliminate the Boston Red Sox in the riveting Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. The third generation Major Leaguer returned to the Bombers last season as manager to lead the Yankees to 100 wins and a second-round playoff appearance. After his 12 years as a player with 1,017 career hits and an All-Star appearance to his credit, Aaron transitioned to the broadcasting booth as a commentator for Sunday Night Baseball and a contributor for Baseball Tonight on ESPN. Off the field, Boone has been on the board for Chances for Children, and has traveled to Haiti with his wife to help out the hurricane-stricken island, which led to them meeting and adopting of two young boys.
Bronx-born Ed Kranepool, an original Met in the 1962 season, was a major contributor in the Gil Hodges platoon at first base and spot-duty in the outfield on the memorable 1969 World Series Champion Mets. The James Monroe High School product signed with the Mets straight out of high school, and spent his entire 18-year career in blue and orange. Krane’s resume includes 1,418 hits, 118 home runs, an All-Star appearance in 1965, and a pair of .300 seasons. Later in his career, he became a pinch-hitter deluxe, and batting .486 (17-for-35) in the role in 1974 is still the major league single-season pinch hit batting average record. Enshrined in the Mets Hall of Fame in 1990, Kranepool works with the Diabetes Association and promotes organ donations. His well-document search for a kidney donor continues.
Didi Gregorius has emerged as a bona fide star and key cog in the Yankees lineup after facing the unenviable task of replacing Derek Jeter as starting shortstop in 2015. Three consecutive 20+ home run seasons have thrust the Netherlands native into the middle of the potent Yankees lineup. The 2018 season was a career best with 27 home runs, breaking his own franchise record for a shortstop, 86 RBI, a .494 slugging percentage and .829 OPS. Gregorius won the Baseball World Cup with his native Netherlands in 2011, and following the victory, he and his teammates were knighted, resulting in the nickname Sir Didi. Gregorius has been involved with DidisDeeds, visiting children hospitals and handing out umbrellas and beanies in the streets of New York, and in the Yankees annual Hope Week reach out. Didi underwent Tommy John surgery this off season.
Miguel Andujar enjoyed a sensational Rookie of the Year candidate campaign with the Yankees last season, adding a potent bat to the lineup. A member of the “Baby Bombers,” Andujar ranked among the top two on the Yankees with 27 home runs, 97 RBIs, 170 hits and a .297 batting average. He broke the Yankees rookie record, and tied the AL rookie record with 47 doubles in a season. Andujar’s superb performances throughout the year resulted in twice being honored as the AL Rookie of the Month in June and August. The Dominican third baseman is an active participant in the Yankees’ Hope Week community effort.
Brown University product and current New York Giants long snapper Zak DeOssie earned two Super Bowl rings on the Big Blue championship squads in 2009 and 2012. Prior to winning his second Super Bowl, DeOssie was named special teams captain in 2012, and has been named to two Pro Bowls. Zak’s Super Bowl victory has put him and his father, former Giants linebacker Steve DeOssie, as the only father-son duo to have won a Super Bowl with the same franchise. Off the gridiron, Zak has been active in his community, where he has worked with the Newark Mentoring Movement, the Lupus Foundation of America, Muscular Dystrophy Association and with Punt, Pass and Kick Clinics with the Special Olympics of New Jersey.
Jerry Milani is a freelance writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 30 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and now is the PR manager for FAN EXPO, which runs pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America. Milani is also the play-by-play announcer for Caldwell University football and basketball broadcasts. He is a proud graduate of Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.