Loretta Claiborne will be honored as York’s “Community All-Star” and presented with the No. 1 jersey 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 same 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 in a news release. “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 No. 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.”
Her history: 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 4.
Eventually, though, she began to run, and eventually finished 26 marathons, twice placing among the top 100 women in the Boston Marathon. She introduced President Bill Clinton at the 1995 Special Olympics World Summer Games, has won medals in dozens of Special Olympics events and also holds the current women's record in her age group for the 5,000 meters at 17 minutes.
Claiborne is also a celebrated leader and speaker who was honored in 1996 with ESPN's ESPY Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. Her life is recounted in "The Loretta Claiborne Story," a Walt Disney Production. She was featured earlier in 2019 on ESPN in honor of the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics, a group that 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. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.