Hailey Dawson has a good shot at setting a Major League Baseball record – maybe even before she starts third grade.
Hailey's been getting a lot of buzz this week, including messages from the Twins and a bunch of other big league teams saying they'd be happy to have her throw out a ceremonial first pitch at one of their games.
Hailey Dawson is a baseball-loving 7-year-old from Las Vegas who – because of a rare disorder called Poland Syndrome – was born without the three middle fingers on her right hand.
A few years ago the top engineers at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) hooked her up with a specially designed hand they made using a 3D printer. Fishing wire connects the plastic fingers and the engineers printed are a few different variations of the hand, with each specializing in a different function.
Her new hand also allowed her to throw out the first pitch at a UNLV baseball game and her mother, Yong Dawson, later told Mid-Atlantic Sports Network "it was amazing and she just hammed it up big time."
Let's do that again
Hailey liked it so much she wanted to throw out another first pitch, but this time for her family's favorite team: the Baltimore Orioles. The arrangements were made and at the ripe old age of five Hailey took the field in Baltimore.
This summer a fellow Las Vegas native – Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals – caught a first pitch from her in D.C.
By now Hailey was really getting a taste for this – and her remarkable story was catching on.
When SportTechie.com profiled Hailey and her hand in July, Yong Dawson described how the first pitch ceremonies had boosted her daughter's confidence and expressed hope that they would inspire other kids to set and achieve lofty goals.
“Maybe she can throw one out in every major league ballpark,” Yong Dawson said.
In high demand
On Thursday Bleacher Report picked up on Hailey's story, tweeting a video that went viral.
The response was immediate, with baseball teams including the Twins contacting the Dawson family to arrange a first pitch ceremony.
Yong Dawson told NPR that by Friday afternoon they'd heard from 24 big league teams. Since Hailey's already visited two, that leaves only four more. The New York Daily News reports offers are also coming in from minor league and college teams.
The record? Well, RecordSetter.com says there's a guy who has thrown out first pitches at 14 Major League ballparks.
Judging from this week's response, surpassing that total sounds like child's play for Hailey Dawson, who seems to have the situation well in hand.