New York Yankees honor challenged athletes for start of HOPE Week

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Tuesday, July 12, 2022
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NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A remarkable young athlete kicked off the return of an inspiring tradition Monday, hosted by the New York Yankees.

Landis Sims, a 16-year-old who was born without hands and feet and went on to make his varsity baseball team as a high school freshman, helped the Yankees kick off their 13th annual HOPE Week.

Landis joined other players from the Challenged Athletes Foundation at Yankee Stadium for a day of batting practice and baseball skills instruction led by Yankees Manager Aaron Boone along with Yankees players and coaching staff.

Although Sims was born without feet and hands, he showed off a perfect swing for the short right field porch in Yankee Stadium. It's a swing that impressed Yankees newly named all-star catch Jose Trevino.

"I give him like three months, six months ... he was a lot closer today than I think he thinks," Trevino said.

Landis started playing basketball at age 3 with able-bodied peers and began baseball at 4 years old.

The Yankees were first introduced to him in 2016, when he was 10 years old. The team arranged for a visit to spring training in Tampa and signed him to a one-day contract.

Fast forward to last year, when the teen's determination paid off as he made his high school varsity baseball team at South Central High School in Elizabeth, Indiana.

Landis has become a role model for other young athletes dealing with physical challenges.

"I go through challenges every day, but I work through them, but everyone can learn from that as you just gotta work through the challenges that you have," Sims said.

That kind of attitude led to his selection as the lead-off honoree for this year's HOPE Week.

HOPE Week -- "HOPE" stands for Helping Other Persevere and Excel -- is a week-long program that spotlights inspiring stories of various individuals and organizations in the community.

The award-winning program "is rooted in the fundamental belief that acts of goodwill provide hope and encouragement to more than just the recipient of the gesture," the Yankees said.

More honorees will be featured each day though the end of this week.

The Yankees presented a nice check to the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

"To have our foundation represented here and honored with a $10,000 check because of HOPE Week with the Yankees, it sort of chokes you up," CAF co-founder Bob Babbitt said.

As for Landis he ready to take a spot on the roster.

"He told me, 'I think you should bump Judge out of the two-hole,' that's Landis telling me," Aaron Boone said.

Learn more at HOPE Week | New York Yankees (mlb.com)

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