Two of the Dodgers' biggest fans…
We just received the very sad news that the Dodgers have lost a good friend in Bill Shelley.
Tot Holmes did a very classy job of summing up Bill’s love for the team at LAdugout.com. We will certainly miss seeing Bill at Dodgertown this Spring and our thoughts are with his family this evening.
Cancer took Bill’s life after being a dedicated Dodger fan for many years, which makes another loss this week that much tougher to take. Jeff Hann was a patient at Mattel Children’s Hospital and two years ago, I received an inquiry about having him come out possibly get a pitching lesson with a Dodger. Jeff was on his high school’s baseball team, but cancer kept him off the team and Derek Lowe granted the wish and took Jeff down to the bullpen for a side session.
Much to our surprise, while we were down there, Greg Maddux happened to walk up and Jeff couldn’t believe his good fortune. He didn’t seem awestruck – he just listened to their tips and did his best to throw the pitches they were teaching him. He had a very good arm and though he was tall and lanky, you could tell he was a solid pitcher.
After a long, courageous battle with cancer, Jeff passed away on Friday and according to our contact at Mattel’s, he talked about that day at Dodger Stadium all the time.
Derek’s encounters with Jeff and Courtney, another young patient who lost her battle with this horrible disease, drove him to start D-Lowe’s Heroes, a program last year in which he invited patients out to Dodger Stadium and spent time with them on the field before the game while also providing them with dinner in the Dugout Club and great seats to the game.
It seems fitting that, for the start of the Caravan tomorrow and Wednesday, we will be at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and City of Hope, the Dodgers’ partners in ThinkCure. Frank and Jamie McCourt, as well as all of us at the Dodger organization, are committed to finding a cure for this deadly disease.
Our deepest sympathies are with the families of Bill and Jeff. I hope that you’ll take a moment to look into donating to ThinkCure and support the great work that these two hospitals do every day of the year.