The ManWho “Touched First Pitch” With His Feet In Front Of RYU
A game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees of the American Professional Baseball Major League on the 20th (Korean time). A special guest was invited to Yankee Stadium, the Yankees’ home stadium in the Bronx, New York, USA, and threw a ‘moving first pitch’. Tom Willis, who overcame a disability to throw the first pitch at all 30 major league baseball stadiums, threw the ball before the game that day.
Before Toronto’s attack in the top of the first inning, Willis went on the mound. Born without arms, he took off his shoes and used his feet to throw the ball. He powerfully threw the ball with his foot and headed to the catcher with one bounce. He once again proved with his body that ‘disability is nothing’ and received applause from the audience.
Willis enjoyed playing baseball by throwing the ball with his feet from a young age. He caught some attention in 2008 when he threw out his first major league pitch. With his first pitch, he engraved in his mind the goal of ‘I will throw the ball in every major league stadium’ and continued to put it into practice by touring major league stadiums. And on September 20th of last year, 14 years after throwing out his first pitch, his dream came true. He stood on the mound at Coors Field, the home stadium of the Colorado Rockies, and was registered as the man who threw out the first pitch at 30 major league stadiums.
The 64-year-old left touching words in an interview with USA Today after the first pitch. It clearly conveyed that disability is something that can be easily overcome, and that everyone should give more importance to what they can do. “This (first pitch) is kind of a disability awareness program. It’s an opportunity to help us better understand people with disabilities,” Willis said. He continued by emphasizing, “I don’t want people with disabilities to focus on what they can’t do, but rather imagine what they can do.”
Meanwhile, in this day’s game, ‘Korean Monster’ Ryu Hyun-jin’s team Toronto won 7-1. Toronto continued its five-game winning streak by winning 6-1 on the 21st. They maintained second place in the American League wild card rankings, increasing their chances of advancing to the fall festival. Ryu Hyun-jin is scheduled to start in the away game against the Tampa Bay Rays on the 24th.