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As a lifelong baseball fan, I was pleased to learn of a new organization that has recruited current and former Major League Baseball players, managers and executives to champion the pro-life cause.

This organization, known as Battin’ 1000, seeks to promote a culture of life through the participation of these big-league personalities. You can imagine the impact this type of outreach can have with young boys and girls who revere the game of baseball.

I am specifically pleased that some baseball players with links to Liberty University are on the ground floor of this pro-life effort.

Former Pirates and Braves first baseman Sid Bream – a one-time Liberty slugger – and former Yankees and Mariners pitcher Lee Guetterman – a one-time Liberty ace – have joined in the Battin’ 1000 endeavor. Nothing pleases me more than seeing men and women leaving the Liberty campus and impacting the culture for Christ.

In addition, former Yankees great Bobby Richardson, who once served as head coach of the Liberty University baseball team, is a proud member of this pro-life organization. Bobby was here in Lynchburg last week to speak at a Liberty University convocation and to talk about Battin’ 1000.

The organization also features some Hall of Fame members (Sparky Anderson, Tommy Lasorda, Sen. Jim Bunning, Robin Yount and Gary Carter) and well-known baseball executives (Jerry Colangelo, chairman and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks, former Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and former Detroit Tigers owner Tom Monaghan).

Hall of Fame announcer Ernie Harwell, the longtime voice of the Tigers and one of baseball’s most beloved figures, is also part of this impressive pro-life assembly.

Many other ballplayers, from the obscure to the frequent all stars, have provided their support to the cause of life. Sal Bando, former Oakland A’s All-Star and one-time general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, is serving as chairman of the organization.

Most importantly, Battin’ 1000 is a campaign that aims to raise funds to support American Life League’s Campus for Life. ALL has been on the cutting edge of the pro-life cause for many years. The Stafford, Va.-based organization was founded in 1979, and is today the nation’s largest grass roots pro-life educational organization in America.

Pro-life baseball fans can get involved with this effort by lending financial support through their favorite team (beginning March 31, at the start of the 2003 season). Battin’ 1000 hopes to establish a team of pro-life sympathizers in each of the 30 major league markets. If each team raises $33,333, they can raise $1 million for Campus for Life this year. Those funds will be used to promote pro-life causes among the nation’s youth, specifically by building a campus for Campus for Life in the nation’s capitol. The organization has turned its fundraising effort into a fun baseball-style game wherein standings based on contributions will be posted on the Battin’ 1000 website.

The left has already begun to predictably denounce this effort. The abortion-rights community is presently witnessing America’s views on abortion taking a noticeable turn toward life. This high-profile effort by Battin’ 1000 will further irritate the pro-abortion community because there is every reason to expect it to be effective in reaching a new (and young) audience.

Battin’ 1000 is a wonderful way to promote the culture of life among America’s young people and baseball fans.

We now have a president in the White House who is steadfastly pro-life. His leadership at this critical time is so appreciated as we in the pro-life community work to enlist more and more supporters until one day every unborn child is protected and afforded the right to life. I pray that Battin’ 1000 is a major cog in achieving that goal.

Now, more than ever, I anxiously await that opening day exclamation, “Play ball!”

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