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11-Year-Old Cubs Pitcher Aims to Throw First Pitch in Every MLB Stadium

By Jake Beardslee · July 22, 2023

11-year-old Cooper Murray is using his ceremonial first pitches at MLB games to promote adoption awareness and help children with Down syndrome  Keith Allison: Flickr, e-mail, Twitter, Instagram, website, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

At just 11 years old, Cooper Murray is already making his mark on Major League Baseball. Abandoned as a baby in his native China and diagnosed with Down syndrome, Cooper is now lifting spirits in ballparks across the nation as he advocates for the orphaned children like himself. He has become a performance artists of sorts as he engages in his specialty of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of a ballgame. The young and inspiring pitcher has thrown out ceremonial first pitches for both the Cubs and Red Sox, but he has even bigger plans according to his father, Brad Murray, who, with his wife, Andrea, adopted Cooper from a Chinese orphanage in 2016.

“The goal on this is for Coop to be able to throw out the first pitch in every MLB stadium,” Brad Murray told ABC News. “So there’s 30 of them out there. And the goal would be that we help 30 orphan children that have Down syndrome get adopted.”

Over the past 10 years, Brady and his wife worked through their RODS Heroes foundation for orphaned children with Down syndrome and other special needs to be placed with adoptive families.

Asked what makes Cooper so extraordinary, Brad Murray said, “The special thing about this is it’s not exclusive to Cooper… Coop is super special. But I would say a big part of it is it’s the fact that he has Down syndrome and people with Down syndrome tend to have a little extra love, a little extra ability to love people for who they are and meet them where they’re at.”

With each opening pitch, Cooper touches the lives of thousands of baseball fans. For his father, watching his son inspire so many people brings up intense emotions.

“Hard not to get emotional seeing it,” Brad Murray said tearfully. “Just know that every single one of these kids have a song that they’re meant to sing like it’s inside of them, and they just need a shot.”

Light Wave commentary

Cooper Murray’s inspirational mission to promote adoption awareness and help kids with Down syndrome find families is a heartwarming example of how sports can be a force for good. At just 11 years old, Cooper is already making a difference and showing the world the happiness, love, and potential that exists within all people, regardless of perceived disabilities. His story exemplifies how one person with a big dream can have an outsized impact. Cooper serves as a reminder of our shared humanity. His “pitch” is one of compassion, which is evident with every opening throw.