If you thought the youngster who threw out the first pitch at Minute Maid Park before tonight’s Game 4 of the World Series looked familiar, you’re right.
Hailey Dawson, the 7-year-old from Las Vegas with the 3-D printed hand who got tonight’s ceremonial honor at the Fall Classic, was here in Birdland just two years ago with All-Star third baseman Manny Machado of the Orioles as her batterymate and new best friend.
Then, as a 5-year-old, she got the star treatment at Camden Yards before a first pitch ceremony that raised awareness for a rare disease called Poland Syndrome, which affects one to three newborns per 100,000. It is a disorder in which affected individuals are born with missing or abnormal muscles on one side of the chest wall, and many affected are born with abnormalities of the hand, which may involve shortened or partially fused fingers.
Since then, Hailey has also thrown out a first pitch at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., and has standing invitations from the rest of Major League Baseball’s teams to visit their stadiums for a similar honor. But she started her tour of the majors in Baltimore.
Determined to play baseball despite the abnormality in her right hand, Hailey was the beneficiary of some fast thinking by her mother, Yong, who used a 3-D printer to craft a rudimentary prosthetic for her daughter. Engineering students at the University of Las Vegas Nevada improved on the original design, which was too inflexible, and designed a more functional hand for Hailey.
You can read more about Hailey’s resilience and love of baseball here. Below are two videos that were shot when she visited Baltimore in August 2015.