This press release from YES:
ZEELAND, Mich. — MaryAnn Kaat might not be a familiar name to the lineup of little league baseball players who step to the plate in this Midwest town. But when they look back upon those warm summer nights under the lights, they just might appreciate her contribution to the game.
MaryAnn, wife of pitcher Jim Kaat, lost her spirited battle with cancer on July 21, 2008. In her final days, Jim made her a promise that he would establish a fund in her name for continued enhancement of the Jim Kaat Ballpark in his hometown of Zeeland, Mich.
â€œMaryAnn lit up my life,â€ said Jim, who spent 25 years as a Major League Baseball pitcher, including 16 consecutive Gold Glove Awards, and many more years in broadcasting. â€œI can only hope that this effort will help shine a light on little league players for years to come.â€
MaryAnn served as her husbandâ€™s agent and manager since 1995, and also helped dedicate the Jim Kaat Ballpark in 2006. The ballpark commemorates Kaatâ€™s legacy in Americaâ€™s pastime and is now the center for vibrant little league and community programs.
Following MaryAnnâ€™s death, Jim contacted local civic leaders with his idea for the MaryAnn Kaat Memorial Fund as a way to further the coupleâ€™s involvement with his hometown and to enhance the ballpark for generations to come. Funds will be used for improvements, such as lighting, under the direction of the Zeeland Recreation Little League Advisory Board.
â€œI hope this fund will help promote youth baseball,â€ said Jim. â€œThereâ€™s no better way to remember MaryAnn than through the game that has given us so much.â€
The MaryAnn Kaat Memorial Fund is managed by the non-profit Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area. Donations can be made by visiting www.cfhz.org. You may also mail your check to Community Foundation H/Z, 70 W. Eighth Street, Suite 100, Holland, MI 49423. Please specify MaryAnn Kaat Memorial Fund.