On The Disabled List

Major League Baseball, through Topps, has launched a set of baseball cards for the first time that features ballplayers who have overcome disabilities, or health challenges in their past to rise to stardom.

The set is called, “Pride & Perseverance,’’ celebrates the 70th anniversary of National Disability Employment Awareness month and honor 25 years of Americans with disabilities legislation.

“As a game for all, baseball is proud to be the sport of Jim Abbott, Curtis Pride and many world-class athletes who have overcome obstacles en route to success in the Major Leagues,” Wendy Lewis, MLB Senior Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion & Strategic Alliances, said in a release provided to USA TODAY Sports. “This special set from Topps is a terrific way not only to honor all individuals who have faced challenges and reached the highest level of their chosen sport, but also to inspire anyone who dreams of one day being a part of the “National Pastime”.

The set will include former players: MLB pitcher Jim Abbott, born without a right arm, who won a gold medal for the 1988 U.S. Olympic baseball team and threw a no-hitter for the New York Yankees; 15-year outfielder Jim Eisenreich, who has Tourette’s syndrome; Curtis Pride, a 13-year outfielder who is deaf; Pete Gray, the St. Louis Browns outfielder who lost an arm in a childhood accident; William Hoy, a former centerfielder, who was deaf when he played from 1888 to 1902.

It will also feature current players: Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester and first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who are cancer survivors; New York Mets reliever Buddy Carlyle, who was diagnosed with diabetes; Houston Astros outfielder George Springer, who battles stuttering; and San Francisco Giants starter Jake Peavy, who is legally blind without corrective lenses.

"People with disabilities are often looked at for what they can’t do instead of being appreciated for what they can do,’’ Cubs medical director Mark O’Neal, president of the Professional Baseball Athletics Trainers Society, said in the release. “We hope these cards will help people take a closer look at the potential of people with disabilities. Imagine if a child or the parent of a child with a disability, by simply opening a pack of baseball cards, discovers that one of their heroes was legally blind or deaf or has battled cancer? They would truly feel empowered and encouraged.”

(Bob Nightengale USA TODAY Sports, First Published on www.usatoday.com.)

Tags: sports