NEWS

Mount’s Library Week hits a homer with ‘Baseball Miracles’ talk

February 11, 2020
NEWBURGH, N.Y -

The children, faculty, and staff of Bishop Dunn Memorial School donated a whopping 650 pairs of socks at the talk. Left to right, Roy Underwood, Baseball Miracles on-field instructor and equipment manager; J.T. Tumminia, Baseball Miracles founder; Nancy Benfer ’04, Bishop Dunn principal; and Charles Benfer, current Mount student and Baseball Miracles social media coordinator

The children, faculty, and staff of Bishop Dunn Memorial School donated a whopping 650 pairs of socks at the talk. Left to right, Roy Underwood, Baseball Miracles on-field instructor and equipment manager; J.T. Tumminia, Baseball Miracles founder; Nancy Benfer ’04, Bishop Dunn principal; and Charles Benfer, current Mount student and Baseball Miracles social media coordinator.

Mount Saint Mary College’s Library Week swung into action with “Baseball Miracles: Impacting Lives through Service” on Monday, February 10.

At this panel talk, a packed audience heard how Baseball Miracles began, how Mount Saint Mary College staff and students have been impacted by their involvement in this initiative, and how one can support their crucial work.

Baseball Miracles, a charitable organization based in Marlboro, N.Y., strives to empower youth and build community through mission and baseball. Volunteers teach the fundamentals of baseball to children in underserved communities around the world, and in doing so bring light into their lives. To date, the organization has served more than 2,500 children through 15 mission trips to ten countries across five continents.

The panelists were J.T. Tumminia, Baseball Miracles founder and father of Mount alumna Tyler Tumminia ’00, baseball executive; Trevor Purcell, Mount assistant athletic director and Baseball Miracles trip facilitator; Charles Benfer, current Mount student and Baseball Miracles social media coordinator; and Roy Underwood, Baseball Miracles on-field instructor and equipment manager.

The panelists discussed how the organization has grown from two instructors to an all-volunteer staff of nearly 50 people, including an advisory board. Members of the organization have worked with neighborhoods in the U.S. and abroad, as well as with incarcerated teenagers.

Mount Saint Mary College was founded by the Dominican Sisters, who have four guiding pillars: study, community, service, and spirituality. Much like these sisters, the panelists revealed that there are four pillars of Baseball Miracles as well:

  • Community Service – There’s a service component for the volunteers on every trip, nationally and internationally.
  • Sociability – Volunteers develop camaraderie among the people who go on each trip. 
  • Baseball – Teaching baseball skills to children is fundamental, but they offer unique experiences at the same time. 
  • Spirituality/Devotion – The organization is open to people of any religion, and there is an element of spirituality weaved into many events.

The panel talk kicked off the #SOCKSFORCARE Sock Drive, which is collecting socks all Library Week for the Baseball Miracles #SOCKSFORCARE campaign. The children, faculty, and staff of Bishop Dunn Memorial School donated a whopping 650 pairs of socks at the talk.

Sock donations will be sent to homeless shelters and other support services to give the comfort of warm feet to all the communities that Baseball Miracles has visited. Anyone is welcome to donate socks. Any type of new socks (athletic or otherwise) are welcome.

Next at Bat
There’s more panel discussions, film screenings, and interactive talks on deck through Thursday, February 13. Each event is free and open to the public. They will take place at the Mount’s Kaplan Family Library and Learning Center, in the Dominican Center on campus, 330 Powell Ave., Newburgh, N.Y. There will be raffle drawings at each program and refreshments will be served. For more information, call 845-569-3600 or visit www.msmc.edu

Tuesday, February 11
6:30 p.m., Kaplan Family Library, Room 218

Film screening and discussion - Field of Dreams
Field of Dreams is one of the most iconic baseball movies of all time. After the film, Rick Zolzer, vice president of operations for the Hudson Valley Renegades, will reveal facts and features of the film to enrich the viewing experience. Zolzer will also discuss visiting Field of Dreams in person, and audience members will be invited to share their own insights. This event is co-sponsored by the Hudson Valley Renegades.

Wednesday, February 12
7 p.m., Kaplan Family Library, Room 218

Lecture – “Cardboard Culture: On the Origins of the Great American Baseball Card”
James F. Gates, library director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, will discuss the history of baseball cards. What cultural and technological changes following the Civil War allowed for the creation of inexpensive small picture cards? Over time, these bits of cardboard have evolved into an industry and hobby in which billions of dollars are exchanged. Learn about the early history of the cards, in which baseball was not the predominant genre as it is today. Special cards will be reviewed to understand what makes some of them so valuable.

Thursday, February 13
Dominican Center Café

iROC Lecture Double Header 

“You Can Learn a Lot Just by Watching: The Analogy of Faith and Baseball” (12:45 p.m.)
Robert Miller, chair of the Division of Philosophy and Religious studies and associate professor of Religious Studies at the Mount, will discuss how faith and baseball intermingle in America’s favorite pastime. “Since we can encounter God in life’s common things, then God must be on the baseball field, too,” he explained. “The stories of baseball are sometimes the stories of faith.” Explore the similarities and dissimilarities between faith and baseball and learn what baseball may teach us about life.

“Blood Substitutes and Safety: A Collaboration with OXYVITA, Inc.” (4 p.m.)
While it’s not as rough as football, injuries are bound to happen when the Boys of Summer take the field. For a really nasty injury, a player might need a blood transfusion. But what if there were a simple blood substitute that was just as good as the real thing, and it could be stored and administrated right in the ballpark?

James Moran, associate professor of Biology at the Mount, notes that blood transfusions save lives every day, but are associated with significant risks and potential side effects. Researchers and biotech companies have developed artificial oxygen carriers (AOCs) as a substitute for red blood cell transfusions, but these are not yet approved for human use. Learn about the research that’s been carried on for years by Mount students to test AOCs from local company OXYVITA and what they’ve discovered about these potential lifesavers.