(July 9, 2019) — Loretta Claiborne will be honored as York’s “Community All Star” and presented with the traditional jersey number “1” before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Wednesday’s 2019 Atlantic League All-Star Game at PeoplesBank Park.
Claiborne follows in the footsteps of Voni Grimes, who received the honor in 2011 when York hosted the game for the first time. Claiborne was previously included in the team’s 2016 “Celebrate York” bobblehead series that honored 10 prominent Yorkers in various fields.
“Loretta is an inspiration,” said York Revolution President Eric Menzer. “You could view it as a gift that York gets to call her our own. When it came time to decide who would be honored with jersey number 1 this year, the decision took only seconds. We are actually the ones who are honored that she agreed to accept and participate with us in this special occasion.”
Loretta Claiborne was the middle of seven children in a poor, single-parent family. Born partially blind and intellectually challenged, she was unable to walk or talk until age four. Eventually, though, she began to run. And before she knew it, she had crossed the finish line of 26 marathons, twice placing among the top one-hundred women in the Boston Marathon. She introduced President Bill Clinton at the 1995 Special Olympics World Summer Games, has won medals in dozens of its events, and also holds the current women's record in her age group for the 5,000 meters at seventeen minutes.
Beyond athletic competition, Claiborne is a celebrated leader and speaker who was honored in 1996 with ESPN's ESPY Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. Her life is recounted in Walt Disney Productions’ The Loretta Claiborne Story. She was featured earlier in 2019 on ESPN in honor of the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics, where she serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and Chief Inspiration Officer.
The jersey presentation and first pitch will take place at approximately 7:24 p.m., prior to the special game time of 7:30 p.m.