Boys & Girls Clubs get boost from Derby
Morneau's victory sends $50,000 to Queens teen center
NEW YORK -- Understandably, after watching Josh Hamilton's 28-homer first-round performance in the State Farm Home Run Derby, 14-year-old Tiffany Alvarez had little reason to think Justin Morneau could catch up.
"I kind of lost hope," Alvarez said.
So when Morneau defeated Hamilton, Alvarez's Variety Boys & Girls Club from Astoria, Queens, received the money to go toward its teen center. Additionally, State Farm and Major League Baseball combined to contribute $17,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for every home run the Derby participants hit off the Gold Ball, used after the ninth out. Also, the other seven teens get $10,000 each for their clubs.
The 10 Gold Balls hit out of the park brought the total to $170,000. But after the Derby, Mark Gibson, State Farm's assistant vice president of advertising, said there would be an additional $80,000 "on behalf of [Hamilton's] performance."
"And while Justin's the winner here, obviously the real winners are the Boys & Girls Club," Gibson said.
Alvarez thanked Morneau for his performance and said the youngsters in the club "are going to have a good time now."
"You're welcome," Morneau responded. "I'm glad we can help you guys out. Maybe I made one Twins fan out of this night."
Alvarez, wearing star earrings during the pre-All-Star Game event, said she's a Yankees fan but likes the Twins a little more now.
State Farm also sponsored the first "Call Your Shot" promotion in which a fan, Bennett Hayes of Brimfield, Ill., called a shot for Hamilton and Morneau to hit before their final round. They didn't homer, so Hayes missed out on a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid and a 2009 Major League Baseball ticket package.
The other seven pairings:
The Texas Rangers' Hamilton and Ernestine Grant from the Children's Aid Society Boys & Girls Club.
The Tampa Bays Rays' Evan Longoria and John Laboy from the Education Alliance Boys & Girls Club.
The Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun and Kareem Guthrie from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark.
The Houston Astros' Lance Berkman and Ismael Banquet from the South Queens Girls & Boys Clubs.
The Florida Marlins' Dan Uggla and Samantha Lynn Santiago from the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Clubs.
The Philadelphia Phillies' Chase Utley and John Albanese from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Westchester.
The Cleveland Indians' Grady Sizemore and Wayne Reyes from the Madison Square Boys & Girls Clubs.
Willie Bans is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.