By Lisa M. Macias, Director of Media Relations
May 1, 2018 – Be careful, don’t ever judge a book by its cover. Louisville Slugger didn’t and embraced these unique baseball players and team concept. Take it from LS Warriors National Amputee Baseball Team player, Daniel Williams, who is missing his left hand, “I am very excited to be a part of this team! I hope we can be a source of inspiration to others who are dealing with challenges in their lives and show them that you really can do anything you set your mind to, even without being “normal”.
Louisville Slugger Team Advisor, Dennis Turner, states, “At Louisville Slugger, we are proud to start our commitment to our LS Warriors National Amputee Baseball Team. These men have far exceeded rehabilitation expectations, challenges and deserve an opportunity to test their ability to play against whole, athletic and otherwise normal baseball players.”
The LS Warriors National Amputee Baseball Team (LS Warriors)
Daniel is one of 15 players on the LS Warriors, a team that consists of U.S. Military Veterans, Active Duty personnel, Wounded Warriors and current and former college baseball players. All of these highly skilled athletes come from all walks of life. They have either suffered a loss of limb, partial limb, digits, eye, and serious limb deformities, plus other prostheses all due to congenital, disease, or trauma-related reasons.
After a competitive selection process and national tryout in January 2018 at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Florida (Spring Training home of the Washington Nationals), the team is practicing and preparing for their first Men’s Senior Baseball League (MSBL) / Men’s Amateur Baseball League (MABL) tournament.
As U.S. Army veteran and wounded warrior, Carlo Adame explains it, “This team means a lot more to me than just playing baseball. I get a chance to play baseball at an elevated level alongside brothers that have fought a lot of the same physical and mental battles as I have.
Carlo Adame – Below Knee Prosthesis
Parker Hanson – One Hand
Matthew Kinsey – Foot Prosthesis
Stephen Lutz – Below Knee Prostheses & Missing Fingers
Ryan MacIntosh – Below Knee Prosthesis
Lucas Mayer – Ocular Prosthesis
Christopher Provenzano – Below Knee Prosthesis
Jose Quiroz – Below Knee Prosthesis
Todd Reed – Foot Prosthesis
Michael Rose – Deformed Hand
Graham Spero – One Hand
Joshua Stevens – One Hand
Daniel Vanderwerf – Below Knee Prosthesis
Derrick Victor – Hip Prosthesis
Danny Williams – One Hand
Men’s Senior Baseball League (MSBL) /Men’s Amateur Baseball League (MABL)
Steve Sigler, Founder and President of the MSBL/MABL, the largest and premier amateur baseball league for adults 18 years of age and older, contacted LS Warriors General Manager David Van Sleet, about fielding an amputee baseball team to play in the 30th annual MSBL World Series which took place in the Phoenix, AZ Metropolitan Area in October 2017. For the first time ever in history, an all amputee baseball team played in the MSBL/MABL World Series.
The tournament resulted in such a positive success for the team that a number of the players inquired about forming a national, amputee baseball team that play all year round against competitive, able-bodied teams in national tournaments all over the country.
Per David Van Sleet, “It was not a quick and simple process to find a team of extremely athletic and skilled amputee ball players. But, through a national tryout and after extensive research and collaboration with various references and prosthetic vendors, this team now consists of 15 players, 11 with college baseball experience.”
MSBL/MABL was founded in 1988, and is the fastest-growing adult baseball organization in the country. The league has 325 local affiliates, 3,200 teams and 55,000 members who play organized amateur baseball in local leagues, 30 regional tournaments and six national tournaments. Both the MSBL and the MABL plan to expand by establishing local affiliates in communities where programs do not exist, and also by welcoming existing amateur hardball leagues to affiliate. The MSBL is poised to reach 50,000 members in the very near future.
According to Steve Sigler, “Our organization joins me in our support of the LS Warriors who are a wonderful team to host and compete with. We all need more “feel good” stories, and each one of them deserves that label. It is our absolute pleasure to contribute over $35,000 annually to their cause.”
Major League Baseball (MLB) Influence
Upon hearing of the LS Warriors, MLB Washington Nationals quickly expressed a commitment to support the team. In gratitude of their commitment, the LS Warriors will be wearing the Nationals official game hat during all of their practice sessions and tournament games.
Bringing their vast baseball experience, volunteering their time and carrying their passion for the game of baseball forward, former MLB players Curtis Pride, Kevin Mench, and John Kruk have all agreed to be on the team’s coaching staff.
As a challenged athlete himself, Team head coach Curtis Pride has high expectations for the team, “I am truly honored to coach this unique and incredible team of baseball players. All of these guys have a story to tell on how they overcame some tough physical and mental obstacles to be where they are at today. They inspire me every day with their passion and determination to be the best. As the first team of amputee baseball players, we aspire to do great things this year and look forward to playing in our first tournament Memorial Day weekend in Las Vegas.”
Another former MLB player who influenced a few of the LS Warriors players significantly and who they aspired to be like was Jim Abbot, who shared the following, “I have heard great things about your team and the incredible passion and determination you bring to the game we all love. I wish you every success as you take on competition from around the country. Go out there and show the world that there isn’t any one perfect way to play the game, you can play it in your own way and play it just as well as anyone… anywhere. As you run out onto the field, please know that you have support from around the country.”
Our Major Sponsors and Supporters
Avis Car Rental
Carolina Orthotics & Prosthetics
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville
Kruk’s Philly Steaks
Men’s Senior Baseball League
New Era Cap Company
Wilson Sporting Goods
So remember, before you judge a book by its cover, look much closer!
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