Strike 3 Foundation

The Strike 3 Foundation heightens awareness, mobilizes support, and raises funding for childhood cancer research.

In the News

Oakland A’s pitcher Andrew Bailey visits St. Mary of the Lakes school

MEDFORD — Students at St. Mary of the Lakes School received a special treat when Andrew Bailey, relief pitcher for Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics, came to speak to them about making positive choices and the influence his Catholic school education had on his life. It was all part of national Catholic Schools Week celebrated the end of January. Bailey, a graduate of St. Rose of Lima School in Haddon Heights and Pope Paul VI Catholic High School in Haddon Township, was invited to speak at the school by his aunt, Chris Quinn, the school librarian.

The 26-year-old Bailey was named American League "Rookie of the Year" in 2009 and was named to the All Star Team in 2009 and 2010. He is a board member of the Strike 3 Foundation started by Oakland teammate and pitcher Craig Breslow in 2008 to raise awarenees and funding for childhood cancer research. Breslow’s sister was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at 14 and is now a cancer survivor. St. Mary’s students, normally in school uniforms, were allowed to dress down the day of Bailey’s visit and in return they donated one dollar each to Strike 3.

In addition to raising funds for Strike 3, Bailey hoped to inspire the students with his life story. "I want to get across to them the idea of commitment and dedication to whatever you want to do in life."

"I wasn’t the best student, but I always found a way to make it work. Just because you’re not the brightest doesn’t mean you can’t succeed."

As far as athletic ability goes, Bailey, who started playing baseball at age 5, said, "If you’re good enough, they’ll find you." He encourages kids to be athletic, but to also be a part of the church community and do other things that interest them. He credited his Catholic education with instilling in him "lifelong values that you understand when you become an adult." He recalled playing basketball at St. Rose and never being a starter yet always having fun. "You don’t have to be the best. If you have fun doing what you do, keep doing it."

Bailey’s aunt Quinn was thrilled her nephew could come speak to the students. "Having a strong role model in today’s world is such a wonderful thing. There’s so much negativity out there. It’s great for them to see someone be so successful and still be such a great role model."

"It’s very exciting," Bailey’s mother said. "When he does something like this we are especially proud."

Principal Nina Hoover said she wanted her students to hear from Bailey how his Catholic education guided him in his life choices and the level of commitment and dedication that led him to where he is today. "You can have all the training and special coaches, but unless you really want to do it, you’re not going to be successful."

The students were allowed to bring in sports memorabilia that Bailey autographed for them before the assembly. The students were then divided into two sections by grades and Bailey spoke to each group separately about his career path and the importance of education.

He was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers before he finished college, but decided instead to complete his finance degree at Wagner College in New York before moving on to the big league. He recalled the opening day of his first season with the A’s. "At that time, all the dreams and hard work paid off," he said.

"You always have to be a good teammate," he instructed the students. "It’s about good sportsmanship and respecting your opponent." Then he spoke at the audience’s level when he told them, "You have to respect your classmates and get along with each other. The values your teachers, coaches, principals, parents are trying to teach you now are things that you all understand about being good teammates and being a good person."

Bailey then answered some previously selected questions from the students, such as: "Was it hard to balance school and college baseball?" Bailey answered: "When you’re in school, you’re a student-athlete, not an athlete-student. School comes first."

Bailey said he hopes to play ball as long as he can, but is grateful to have a college degree to fall back on. "I never liked homework," he joked, "but I felt good the next day when I handed it in."

He reminded the students that "Coaches, teachers and parents have your best interest in mind." And he encouraged them that whatever they do, "Keep practicing. You can only get better." "Don’t let failure stop you," he added. "Failure is just a speed bump that you need to push through to get to the other side."

For more information on the Strike 3 Foundation visit the website

By Dubravka Kolumbic

March 29, 2011 · Reprinted from The Central Record © 2011

Mission Statement

The Strike 3 Foundation heightens awareness, mobilizes support, and raises funding for childhood cancer research.

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Strike 3 Foundation
PO Box 191
Monroe, CT 06468

(203) 502-0007

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