The Shay Baseball Email Forward. True story or fiction?

A friend forwarded me an email the other day. I normally don't read forwards but this one I did. My question to the community (the wolrd wide web :-]): Is this story based on a true story? I am curious to know. Here is the email / forward / story.


Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:

"When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?"

The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued.

"I believe that when a child like Shay,who was 20 mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child."

Then he told the following story:

Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they"ll let me play?"

I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps. I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, "We"re losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we"ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."

Shay struggled over to the team"s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay"s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.

In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay"s team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible e because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay"s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The game would now=2 0 be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman"s head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!"

Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second! "

Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. B ya the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball . the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher"s intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman"s head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. All were screaming, "Shay, S hay, Shay, all the Way Shay"

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third! Shay, run to third!"

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, "Shay, run home! Run home!"

Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team "That day", said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world".

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!


There is a post on 'snopes' regarding this email. Apparently the story had its origins in something similar that happened but has been added to and emotionalized into an urban legend.


As a parent of a child with a disability, I find this story far from inspiring. In fact, I find it sickening as do many others. This extract from another's comment on the story summarises my feelings well....

The true value of any inspirational tale lies not in its veracity (or lack thereof) but in its ability to move those who read it to improve some facet of themselves. As with many other glurges, we find this story's premise a poor one, and its message one likely to do more harm than good.
What to make of an incitement to bestow upon the disabled a pat on the head instead of granting them acceptance for who they are, even when that means accepting the limitations placed upon them by their infirmities?
The story of Shaya's grand slam positions the 18 boys who fooled the disabled child into thinking he'd done something miraculous as great-hearted lads who reached into the depths of their souls and therein found the kindness with which to lavish upon a less-abled youngster. We're supposed to look up to them and want to be like them. Yet to do that, we'd have to fail to understand the nature of what they did — rather than accept Shaya for who he was, they pretended he wasn't disabled. Were this story taken as the model for how we should all behave around the less-abled, those struggling with very real physical and mental shortcomings would never get to show off what they can do nor experience the honest praise of admiring teammates and co-workers for their actual contributions, because pity-driven exercises in make-believe would rob them of their every chance to be seen as actual people.
Can a disabled child hit a baseball as well as a perfectly-abled one? No. But can that same child learn to work within his disabilities to the point of achieving real accomplishments he can take honest pride in? Absolutely. And that beats all the pity-driven home runs in the world.
Said the father in the story, "I believe that when God brings a child like this into the world the perfection that he seeks is in the way people react to this child." This story counsels that "perfection" be one of pity and dismissal of the actual person. And that can't be right.

I read this story in a book, this story actually is true because my old teacher used to teach kids that are disabled and she met his father once. I'm actually taking a gap course on this.

Although Snopes does not "verify" the story, they do at least link to the original published version which honestly is no different aside from replacing God with Hashem, etc. I also disagree with the Snopes commentary on why they dislike the moral.

Completely understand what your stance in this matter. Although I would disagree on some of the finer details, I think you did an awesome job explaining it.thanks for sharing this fabulous information with viewers.

> I also disagree with the Snopes commentary
> on why they dislike the moral.
This is exactly why I gave up on Snopes long ago. Instead of objectively stating true/false/undetermined to the topics, they feel this necessity to inject their own holy-than-thou subjective opinion into everything. I look elsewhere now (,, etc.).

whether if its true or not, i pray that people will be encouraged to do likewise. Denying themselves for the happiness of one person.

Absolute Bollocks. A " Feel Good" story for those who who can't master sceptisism or a search engine. A previous poster stated that they know a teacher that knows the boy's father ( yada yada yada ) Why , in with these Hallmark tales, do people not know the ACTUAL person, but they know someone that knows someone that know someone that knows its a fact. At the risk of repeating myself, ABSOLUTE BOLLOCKS!