MLB Players Find Silver Lining in Strikeouts

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2008 - The 132 strikeouts Major League pitchers threw during baseball games played on Patriot Day were bittersweet.

Generally, strikeouts are a pitcher's goal. But for those who participate in the Strikeouts for Troops program, the words, "you're out" equal cold, hard cash to support wounded warriors.

San Francisco Giants pitcher Barry Zito founded the nonprofit in April 2005 to benefit wounded troops recovering at military hospitals nationwide. Players from several sports have volunteered to make contributions based on their on-field performances. The athletes racked up a donation of $66,000 for the troops; and USAA, a financial services company for military members, added $100,000.

"The men and women of the military continually go above and beyond for our country so USAA is pleased to contribute $100,000 to Strikeouts For Troops," said Barbara Gentry, USAA's senior vice president of community affairs. "We are extremely proud of the work Barry Zito is doing and our association with Strikeouts For Troops.

"USAA and Strikeouts For Troops both want our men and women ? both those in uniform and the families that support them ? to know their selflessness is appreciated and does not go unnoticed."

USAA presented its donation to Strikeouts For Troops players Jake Peavy of the San Diego Padres and Matt Cain of the Giants on Sept. 14, as part of the Padres "Salute to Veterans" game.

Zito, who started in that game, could only watch the presentation as he warmed up. The 30 servicemembers he'd invited from Balboa Naval Medical Center kept him in good company.

This marks the second year the USAA and Strikeouts For Troops have joined forces on Patriot Day.

Strikeouts For Troops is a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad. USAA is a corporate supporter of the America Supports You program.

*Related Sites:*
Strikeouts For Troops  [ ]
MLB Players Find Silver Lining in Strikeouts [ ]