Major League Player to Introduce Baseball in Vietnam

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NY Mets Pitcher Danny Graves to Co-Host Delegation with Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund

WASHINGTON, DC Major League Baseball’s first-ever Vietnamese-born player, Danny Graves, will return to Vietnam early next year as co-host of a special delegation to introduce baseball and promote healing and understanding between the United States and Vietnam, announced Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.  This will be Graves’ first trip to Vietnam since he left as a toddler.  He will be accompanied by his wife, Andrea, and his Vietnamese mother, Thao, a teacher from Valrico, Florida who also will be making her first visit to Vietnam in more than three decades.

The highlight of the Memorial Fund Delegation, co-hosted by Graves and Scruggs, will be Graves’ visit to Quang Tri Province, where he will present the community with baseball equipment and offer Vietnamese children baseball coaching and instruction as part of an on-going effort by the Memorial Fund to foster teamwork between two countries once divided by war…

 

     

The delegation will arrive in Hanoi on January 25, after a night in Hong Kong, and travel to Hue, Dong Ha, DaNang and Ho Chi Minh City.  During its visit, the group will observe operation of the Memorial Fund’s humanitarian effort, Project RENEW™, a landmine awareness and removal program in Quang Tri Province.  They also will meet with U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Michael W. Marine and several high-ranking Vietnam officials.

New York Mets pitcher Danny Graves was born on a military base in Saigon on August 7, 1973 to an American serviceman father and a Vietnamese mother who worked in the U.S. Embassy.  The Graves family moved to the U.S. shortly before the fall of Saigon (April 30, 1975) when Danny was 14 months old. 

Graves was selected by the Cleveland Indians in 1994 in the fourth round of the amateur MLB draft, and traded to the Cincinnati Reds in July 1997.  In his first nine seasons with Cleveland and Cincinnati, Graves compiled a 40-42 record as a pitcher with 406 strikeouts, a 3.89 ERA, and 172 saves in 755.2 innings; he is the Reds all-time saves leader.  He joined the New York Mets during the 2005 season.

Off the field, Graves is known for his generous contributions to the community.  In addition to hosting Sunday home games at Shea Stadium for underprivileged children as part of his Gravy’s Train ticket program, he is the local spokesman for Cincinnati’s National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s READaTHON program and an honorary board member of Hamilton County Special Olympics.  Graves also was the Reds’ recipient of the 2001 and 2003 Roberto Clemente Award presented annually by John Hancock to the Major Leaguer who combines outstanding skills on the field with devoted work in the community.

The Memorial Fund launched Project RENEW™ in December 2000 in partnership with the Quang Tri Province People’s Committee as the first comprehensive management approach undertaken in Vietnam to restore the environment and neutralize the effects of war. The program provides safety and injury public awareness programs, emergency medical services, prosthetic limbs for amputees, job training for survivors, database management of survey information, and overall coordination and management of mine-action projects in Quang Tri Province.  Since its inception, Project RENEW™ has dramatically helped to reduce casualties resulting from landmines and UXO in Quang Tri and surrounding provinces.

To bring attention to the continuing needs in Quang Tri Province, the Memorial Fund has hosted several goodwill delegations to the area, including ones co-hosted with Pete Peterson, the first postwar U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam and a former Prisoner of War, and with journalist Joe Galloway who served four tours of duty in Vietnam as a war correspondent and co-authored the national bestseller We Were Soldiers Once and Young.  In April 2000, the Memorial Fund led a delegation of two-dozen CEOs, who shared the common bond of serving during the Vietnam War, to mark the 25th Anniversary of the end of the war.

Established in 1979, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is the non-profit organization authorized by Congress to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.  Today, through a series of outreach programs, it is dedicated to preserving the legacy of The Wall; promoting healing; educating about the impact of the Vietnam War; and is building the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center, an underground educational facility, near The Wall.

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