ST. LOUIS – October 1, 2012 – Cardinals Care and the Redbird Rookies will honor Cardinals Outfielder/First Baseman Lance Berkman with the dedication of Lance Berkman Field at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 2, at the Sesser Sports Complex in Sesser, Illinois.
Lance Berkman Field, which is Cardinals Care’s 19th youth ball field, is the home field for the nine teams involved in the Sesser Redbird Rookies program. The professionally designed youth baseball field is the result of a six figure investment by Cardinals Care that includes a graded and irrigated playing field, two paved and covered dugouts, bleachers, fencing and a state-of-the art solar powered scoreboard. The field will play an integral role in teaching Redbird Rookies participants the values of teamwork, integrity, self-esteem, and leadership. Sesser has been involved with Redbird Rookies since 2006 and has perfect record with the reading program.
The field is named after Berkman, 36, a six-time All-Star, who helped lead the Cardinals to their 11th World Championship in 2011 while being named as the Comeback Player of the Year by both MLB and MLBPA Player’s Choice in 2011. Berkman owns a career batting mark of .296 with 360 home runs and 1200 RBI in 1,805 games. His career .409 on-base percentage is ranked 4th among active players and his .544 slugging mark is ranked 11th. Berkman’s 360 career homers are 4th all-time among switch hitters. Berkman hit .313 with 11 RBI in the 18 games of last year’s dramatic postseason. Berkman had one of the biggest hits in Game 6 of the World Series when he drove in the tying run (9-9) in the 10th inning with a two-out single keeping the Cardinals season alive. Berkman, nicknamed the “Big Puma,” was voted the 2011 Darryl Kile Award by his teammates - - an award given to the teammate who best exemplifies Kile’s traits of being a good teammate, a great friend, a fine father and a humble man.
Over the last 15 years, Cardinals Care has provided nearly $11 million in grants to over 800 non-profit youth organizations and built 19 youth ball fields in local disadvantaged neighborhoods. Redbird Rookies is a free baseball league for boys and girls ages 5 -13 in Missouri and Illinois who otherwise might not have the opportunity to play. In addition to providing all the uniforms, gloves, bats, balls and other equipment needed for each team, Redbird Rookies also provides extensive off-field support in the areas of health, education, mentoring and the cultural arts for each of the nearly 4,500 kids who participate in the program each year. Funding comes from Cardinals players, the team's ownership group, local business, and most importantly Cardinals fans. Fans may now make a tax-deductible donation to Cardinals Care online at cardinals.com/community.
WHO: Bill DeWitt III, the President of the Cardinals; Michael Hall, Vice President, Community Relations and Executive Director of Cardinals Care; John Launius, President of the Sesser Junior Baseball Board of Directors; and Mayor Ned Mitchell
WHAT: The formal dedication of Lance Berkman Field
WHERE: Sesser Sports Complex, Sesser, IL 62884 (618.218.6254) – East Florence Street & Maple Streets
WHEN: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 4:00 p.m.
SOCIAL: @cardinals #cardscare