Yanks to honor ‘My Dad, My MVP’ winner July 24

Frank Sumi of North Tonawanda, N.Y., is the Yankees’ winner of Major League Baseball’s 20011 “My Dad, My MVP” contest, a campaign that gives fans an opportunity to celebrate the father figures in their lives.

Sumi was nominated by his son, Ryan, who was born with a spinal deformity and hydrocephalus, a condition in which fluid builds up in the brain causing it to swell. Since Ryan’s birth, Frank has dedicated his life to caring for him, even in the face of his son’s numerous health problems.

Essentially serving as Ryan’s nurse, Frank aids in numerous tasks, including dressing him. Whenever possible, father and son enjoy going to sporting events and participating in adaptive sports.

The Yankees will honor Frank Sunday, July 24, before their game against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium. Frank will be the team’s guest in a pregame dugout visit, assist in the delivery of the lineup card to the plate and throw out the game’s ceremonial first pitch.

The “My Dad, My MVP” contest was introduced this year to recognize extraordinary fathers and father figures as part of the MLB Father’s Day celebration. More than 3,200 stories were submitted online in this inaugural campaign. One winner for each of the 30 MLB Clubs was selected by a celebrity panel of judges and nearly 270,000 fan votes on MLB.com/mvpdad.

In addition to the fan voting, a celebrity panel helped select the 30 “MVP Dad” winners. The list of judges were country music stars Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry of the duo Montgomery Gentry; MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Joe Torre; Founder and Chairman of the Prostate Cancer Foundation Michael Milken; Mets left fielder Jason Bay, Orioles first baseman Derrek Lee, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy, Cubs first baseman Carlos Peña, White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki, Giants relief pitcher Brian Wilson and MLB Network analyst Billy Ripken.

The winning stories were selected based on originality, quality of writing, demonstration of commitment to the role of father and public appeal.

MLB supports the prostate cancer cause during Father’s Day celebrations, specifically with the annual “Home Run Challenge” to fund the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF). The initiative, which culminated on Father’s Day, June 19, and is now in its 15th year, helps increase awareness and early detection of prostate cancer.

Since its inception, this initiative has raised more than $36 million toward prostate cancer research. For each home run that was hit during 60 select MLB games from June 8-19, including all games played on Father’s Day, fans had the opportunity to make monetary donations and pledges to the PCF at http://www.homerunchallenge.org, or by making a $10 donation by texting HRC to 20222.

Money raised through the “Home Run Challenge” goes directly to the PCF to advance prostate cancer research. In 2010, more than $2.3 million was raised to fight prostate cancer through the PCF “Home Run Challenge”. Major League Baseball Charities has committed $50,000 to PCF as part of this program.

Additionally, players, managers, coaches, trainers, umpires and groundskeepers wore blue wristbands and blue ribbon uniform decals symbolizing prostate cancer awareness. The blue ribbon logo also appeared on the official dugout lineup cards, which were blue. In an effort to emphasize the impact of the disease, all games played June 19 featured messages giving valuable health information about prostate cancer.

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