Teixeira honored at ALS Dinner
The Lou Gehrig Award that one of his successors at first base for the Yankees, Mark Teixeira, received Thursday night at the Marriott Marquis Hotel came with a bit of a surprise. Sportscaster Bob Costas was joined during the presentation by Kim and Trason Murray, the widow and son of George Murray, an ALS sufferer who Teixeira had met in July 2009 during the Yankees’ HOPE Week.
Murray, 38, a veteran of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne who no longer had use of his arms or legs due to ALS, fulfilled his dream of going to a Yankees game with Trason and Kim. The Yankees invited the family to Yankee Stadium July 22, 2009 for batting practice and the game, and then surprised the couple on their anniversary with a suite of 30 friends and family from home as well as several players, including Teixeira and Derek Jeter. George died of the disease two weeks after the trip.
“The main reason I’m here is because of George Murray and his family,” Teixeira said at the ALS Association’s 16th annual Lou Gehrig Sports Awards Benefit. “Tra and Kim, along with George, really made a big impression on me last year at the Stadium. Tra is a year older than my son. After visiting with George and realizing he was losing the battle with ALS, I went home and looked at my son, and just thought about growing up without his father, or me not being able to see my son grow up. We’re really here for George Murray and fathers everywhere, sons everywhere, and we need to find a cure for this disease.”
ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which has commonly been known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease since it ended his playing career in 1939 and his life in 1941. Another Yankees Hall of Famer, pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter, succumbed to the disease in 1999. ALS is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. There is no known cure. The Gehrig Awards Dinner, which this year also honored tennis great Pam Shriver, raised $1 million toward research.
“Lou Gehrig and Catfish Hunter, those two names will live forever in the Yankees’ family,” Teixeira said. “When you become a part of that family, ALS becomes a part of you as well. For me to be here and hopefully raise a little more awareness and a few more dollars, I’m all for it. Becoming part of the Yankees’ family is understanding how important ALS research and finding a cure for ALS is.”