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Bartlett to be honored with NY athletes

January 07, 2010

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Champions past and present will be honored at the 30th anniversary Thurman Munson Awards Dinner, remembering the late, great New York Yankees catcher and captain on Tuesday night, Feb. 2, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. Yonkers Raceway’s two-time champion driver Jason Bartlett will join an elite group of athletes being honored.
The other athletes include New York Yankees 2009 world champion pitcher Joba Chamberlain; Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella, Thurman’s teammate on the Bronx Bombers' 1977 and ’78 World Series title teams;  New York Mets 1986 World Champion outfielder Darryl Strawberry, who also played on three Yankees championship teams;  and Knicks starting point guard Chris Duhon, a member of Duke’s 2001 NCAA championship squad,  as this year’s recipients of Munson Awards from the AHRC-New York City Foundation.
Piniella, a previous Munson Award recipient, will receive the “Legend Award” for his long and meritorious service to baseball. Lynn Pike, the president of Capital One Bank, will receive the “Corporate Hero Award.”
Diana Munson, Thurman’s widow, will attend the gala, and has been involved in the benefit since its inception, raising nearly $10 million to assist children and adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. Longtime New York sports anchor Len Berman, formerly of NBC Sports, will once again serve as the master of ceremonies for the 16th consecutive year.  The honorees will be cited for their accomplishments on the field of play and philanthropic efforts.
Bartlett, a 28-year-old native of Augusta, Maine, has hit the world of harness racing by storm in the past two years. The young reinsman has captured back to back driving titles at Empire City Casino’s historic half mile oval. In the just concluded 2009 campaign, Bartlett recorded 578 wins and more than $9.1 million in purses at Yonkers Raceway alone to lead the driving colony for the second straight year. In all, his totals of 720 wins and more than $10.8 million in purses ranked second and fourth respectively, in North America. Along the way, Bartlett traveled to Norway to represent the US in May's World Driving Championship and won his 3,000th career race with the trotter Light Headed (Aug. 28).  An excellent athlete, Bartlett was also an All-American point guard at the University of Southern Maine.
The AHRC New York City Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that supports programs enabling children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead richer, more productive lives, including programs of AHRC New York City.  AHRC New York City is one of the largest organizations of its kind, serving 11,000 children and adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injuries and other disabilities.
Chamberlain, 24, burst onto the baseball scene in 2007, dominating hitters and taking New York by storm.  The fireballing righthander played a big role in the Yankees' championship last year, first winning nine games as a starter during the regular season and appearing in 10 postseason games in relief.  He played his college ball at the University of Nebraska in his hometown of Lincoln, and at the University of Nebraska-Kearney before being selected with the 41st overall selection by the Yankees in the 2006 draft.
Piniella, a .291 hitter with 102 home runs and 766 RBI in 18 MLB seasons, including 11 with the Yankees, is in his 22nd season as a big league manager, winning a World Championship at the helm of the Cincinnati Reds in 1990.  The 69-year-old Tampa native has won more than 1700 games as a manager, and has three Manager of the Year awards, including 2008 with the Cubs.  He was selected Rookie of the Year in 1969 in his first of five years with the Kansas City Royals before being dealt to the Yankees in 1975, where he became one of Munson's closest friends.
Strawberry, 47, was one of the National League's premier sluggers from 1983-1991, earning eight straight All-Star selections.  One of the most popular players to wear a Mets uniform, Strawberry later revived his career with the Yankees in the late 1990s, becoming a key member of three World Series champions.  The Los Angeles native also played for the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants in his 17-year Major League career, hitting 335 home runs and driving in 1000 runs.
Duhon, 27, one of the best players ever at Duke University, having led the Blue Devils to three ACC Championships, two Final Fours and the NCAA Championship in his freshman season of 2000-01.  Duhon is in his second year as the New York Knicks' starting point guard after four years with the Chicago Bulls.   The native of Louisiana averaged a career-best 11.1 points and 7.2 assists per game last year and has started every game at the point this season.
Among a long list of notable athletes to previously receive the Munson Award are: Alex Rodriguez, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Willie Randolph, Mariano Rivera, Muhammad Ali, Yogi Berra, Goose Gossage, Don Mattingly, Jorge Posada, Joe Torre, Joe Girardi, Patrick Ewing,  Walt Frazier,  Mark Jackson, Charles Oakley, Bernie Williams, Arthur Ashe, Willis Reed, Earl Monroe, Willie Mays, Mark Messier, Mike Richter, Adam Graves, Tom Seaver, Harry Carson and John Franco.
For tickets and information on the Munson Awards Dinner contact 212-249-6188.
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