Baseball heroes honored at US Navy Memorial

MLB Hall-of-Famer Tom Seaver and Baltimore Orioles reliever Darren O'Day were among those honored in a ceremony at the Navy Memorial.

WASHINGTON — On the same night Major League Baseball handed out their final season awards, another award was being announced at the U.S. Navy Memorial in downtown DC.

MLB Hall-of-Famer Tom Seaver, Darren O’Day of the Baltimore Orioles, and Chief Petty Officer Edmundo Brantes of the United States Navy formally received the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award on Thursday evening. USMC Staff Sgt. Adam Plambeck was named the recipient of the Jerry Coleman Award, which honors a Marine Noncommissioned Officer, and this year’s recipients of the Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Awards in the Afloat and Ashore categories were Training Support Center Great Lakes, Unmanned Patrol Squadron ONE NINE (VUP-19).

This was also a ceremony that featured the first ever “Military Children Award” for two children whose parents serve proudly in the U.S. Military. This year’s winners are Nicholas and Shivanne Annand, son and daughter of Naresh and Henrietta Annand of Chesapeake, Virginia.

Seaver, who pitched for four teams over a 20-year career, was not able to attend. Former Secretary of the Navy John Dalton accepted the honor on Seaver’s behalf.

“Terrific Tom” finished his career with 311 wins, 3,640 strikeouts, and at the time of his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992, he had the highest percentage of votes ever recorded, 98.84 percent, since passed by Ken Griffey Jr., last year with 99.32 percent.

O’Day, who just finished his sixth season as a reliever for the Orioles, is a right-handed setup man who throws a “submarine sidearm” delivery. The one-time All Star is married to Fox News Channel’s Elizabeth Prann, who is based out of the Washington, D.C. bureau. O’Day was pursued by the Washington Nationals after the 2015 season, but chose to sign a four-year deal to remain in Baltimore.

O’Day credits his wife with getting him more involved in assisting the military, saying “behind every OK man there’s a great woman.” She aided Darren’s efforts by helping to organize a barbecue for members of the military and their family for the Metropolitan USO before select Orioles games.

Prann, who’s expecting the couples’ first son next month, said that Darren deserves 99.9 percent of the credit for the Act of Valor Award, and that the service to the military is something they both are involved in that goes back to when both were in college. She added the military has helped them both achieve their dreams in life.

Even Orioles manager Buck Showalter stopped by the event in support of O’Day’s award. Showalter — whose father served at Normandy in the 1st Infantry Division (Big Red One) in World War II and grew up in Pensacola, Florida, near the Naval Air Station — said of O’Day receiving the award, “He’s the type of guy that does things like this that nobody knows about.” Showalter added O’Day does things because they’re right. “That’s why he’s been so successful on the field and really in the game of life,” he said.

This was the fifth year for the The Bob Feller Act of Valor Award, created by Peter Fertig along with the support of the U.S. Navy, the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial, the Cleveland Indians, the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, and the gracious consent of Bob’s widow, Anne Feller. The award brings the three aspect of Feller’s life, his career in baseball, the U.S. Navy and his enshrinement in the Hall of Fame.

Bob Feller pitched for 18 seasons with the Cleveland Indians, and missed nearly four of his prime seasons to serve with the U.S. Navy in World War II. The velocity on his fastball earned him nicknames “Bullet Bob,” “Rapid Robert,” and the “Heater from Van Meter,” the latter referencing the righty’s hometown in Iowa. Feller served on the USS Alabama as a Chief Petty Officer and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1962. Feller passed away in 2010 at the age of 92.

The Jerry Coleman Award is presented to a Marine Noncommissioned Officer who possesses outstanding leadership and unyielding support for the U.S. Marine Corps and the United States. Coleman, the only major league player to see combat in two wars, was a Navy pilot before transferring to the Marines. He was an All-Star in 1950 with the New York Yankees, where he won four World Series as a second baseman. Coleman was also a manager in San Diego, then winning the 2005 Ford C. Frick Award presented by the National Baseball Hall-of-Fame for “major contributions to baseball and broadcasting excellence.” Coleman was a radio broadcast play-by-play man for the Padres from 1972 until his death in 2014.

Nominations come from fleet and were submitted in early June of this year.

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