January 20, 2013 at 11:45 AM
BOSTON, Mass. -- Saturday was the eighth New Stars for Young Stars event at Jillian’s Boston, the annual Jimmy Fund fundraiser that gives fans a chance to meet and get autographs from some of their favorite Red Sox, past, present, and future. Sox prospects Anthony Ranaudo, Blake Swihart, Garin Cecchini, Deven Marrero, and Brandon Workman were in attendance at the event, joining Red Sox pitchers Rich Hill, Chris Carpenter, Craig Breslow, and Clayton Mortensen, and 2004 World Series winning-catcher Doug Mirabelli.
Mortensen came in for just the day and was flying out of Boston the same night to be at his son's first birthday party the next day. He was not alone among players making special arrangements to be there, but all had a positive outlook and were happy to give their time.
"This is awesome man," said Marrero, Boston's first overall pick in the 2012 draft. "This is something that I like to do a lot. I like to do this for the kids and for the fans of Boston. It's special and it's really humbling to see these people out here. It's cool I'm having fun with everybody."
In addition to signing autographs the event featured a silent auction, memorabilia sales, other raffles, and a bowling contest to help strike out cancer. Brian Evans also made an appearance, whose song "At Fenway" and music video featuring movie star William Shatner was played several times throughout the day.
Third baseman Garin Cecchini spoke highly of the event at the end of a long day of signing autographs. "I think it's a really good event," he said. "Just giving back to the community like this, it's really cool. It's a thing I think all athletes should do because we've been blessed with so much stuff and talent that it's really cool to give back to people here who are less fortunate than us."
Cecchini put his money where his mouth is when he gave $20,000 of his initial signing bonus to the Jimmy Fund in 2010 and participated in the Jimmy Fund telethon almost immediately after signing.
Catching prospect Blake Swihart also mentioned that the event serves as a team building exercise in a secondary way for the players in attendance. "I love coming out here," he said. "It's an honor to be invited to it. I'm spending time with the guys I'm about to go to spring training with. Seeing the smiles on these kids faces makes me smile, so it's a great event."
"This is the first time I've done it and everybody here had a lot of fun," said pitcher Anthony Ranaudo. "Hopefully it meant as much to the kids and families as it did for us."
Photo Credit: (from left) Deven Marrero, Brandon Workman, Blake Swihart, Anthony Ranaudo by Matt Huegel
Matt Huegel is Managing Editor for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattHuegelSP.