DETROIT -- Curtis Granderson's grandmother gave him his first batting helmet. On Sunday, Granderson will try to give something back.
Granderson is among the Tigers players joining the 200 around the Majors who will use pink Louisville Slugger bats on Mother's Day, Sunday night at the Metrodome to benefit breast cancer awareness. Fittingly, they'll be facing the Twins.
"She bought my first helmet," Granderson remembered, "and it was a Minnesota Twins helmet. We'll see if we can get some hits this time for her."
Granderson was 10 years old when his grandmother passed away from breast cancer. He still remembers well, from their visits in Mississippi to her interest in baseball to the caramel cake she would send up to Chicago for him each birthday. His mother has become involved with breast cancer awareness over the years, but this is his first time Granderson will be able to use his position as a Major League player to make a difference.
Other Tigers involved in the program include Ivan Rodriguez, Magglio Ordonez, Gary Sheffield, Placido Polanco, Marcus Thames, Craig Monroe, Sean Casey and Neifi Perez. The "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" program is part of a partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure to both generate awareness and raise funds for research.
For Granderson, it's a fitting tribute.
"She was real close and really into baseball herself," Granderson said of his grandmother. "She saw me play in Little League. I know she used to watch WGN a lot, because it was nationwide. She was able to catch the Cubs pretty frequently, and TBS when she got cable, so she'd see the Braves. She's definitely missed, and I wish she could see some of the things I'm doing now."
Fans can support the initiative on Sunday by logging onto www.komen.org/mlb and making a pledge in the name of a team or the general cause.
A number of Major League players will help raise awareness for breast cancer on Mother's Day, May 13, by using pink Louisville Slugger bats. To date, more than 200 players have signed up to use a pink bat, which is more than twice the participation in 2006. Select game-used bats, as well as team-autographed bats from every club, will be auctioned on MLB.com at a later date, with proceeds benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Fans can also purchase their own personalized pink bat at MLB.com, or www.slugger.com, with Major League Baseball donating $10 from the sale of each bat to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.