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Joba honored with Munson Award

Joba honored with Munson Award

NEW YORK -- Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain will be honored at this year's Thurman Munson Awards dinner, acknowledging excellence in competition and philanthropic work within the community.

Chamberlain was announced on Thursday as part of a group of five sports personalities who will be presented with the Thurman Munson Award on Feb. 2 at the Grand Hyatt hotel in New York, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the event.

Also to be honored are Cubs manager Lou Piniella, former big league outfielder Darryl Strawberry, Knicks point guard Chris Duhon and Yonkers Raceway two-time champion harness driver Jason Bartlett.

The AHRC New York City Foundation benefits from the gala, which remembers Munson, the late, great Yankees catcher and captain who tragically perished in a 1979 plane crash.

Diana Munson, Thurman's widow, has been involved in the benefit since its inception, raising nearly $10 million to assist children and adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Longtime New York sports anchor Len Berman, formerly of NBC Sports, will once again serve as the master of ceremonies for the 16th consecutive year. The honorees will be cited for their accomplishments on the field of play and philanthropic efforts.

Chamberlain, 24, helped the Yankees secure their elusive 27th World Series championship in 2009, going 9-6 with a 4.75 ERA in 32 appearances, and New York went 20-11 in his starts before he appeared in 10 postseason games as a reliever.

The hard-throwing right-hander has displayed a commitment to being active in the community since debuting as a big leaguer in 2007, not only in New York, but also his hometown of Lincoln, Neb.

Piniella, a previous Munson Award recipient, will receive the "Legend Award" for his long and meritorious service to baseball. Piniella played 18 seasons in the big leagues, including 11 with the Yankees, and is in his 22nd season as a big league manager.

The 69-year-old Tampa, Fla., native has won more than 1,700 games as a manager, and has three Manager of the Year Awards, including in 2008 with the Cubs. He was selected Rookie of the Year in 1969 with the Royals before being dealt to the Yankees in 1975, where he became one of Munson's closest friends.

The Munson Awards dinner has previously honored such notables as Alex Rodriguez, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Willie Randolph, Mariano Rivera, Muhammad Ali, Yogi Berra, Goose Gossage, Don Mattingly, Jorge Posada, Joe Torre, Joe Girardi, Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, Mark Jackson, Charles Oakley, Bernie Williams, Arthur Ashe, Willis Reed, Earl Monroe, Willie Mays, Mark Messier, Mike Richter, Adam Graves, Tom Seaver, Harry Carson and John Franco.

The AHRC New York City Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that supports programs enabling children and adults with developmental disabilities to lead richer, more productive lives, including programs of AHRC New York City.

AHRC New York City is one of the largest organizations of its kind, serving 11,000 children and adults who have mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injuries and other developmental disabilities.

For tickets and information on the Munson Awards Dinner, contact 212-249-6188.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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