STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WTAJ)– The State College Spikes announced plans to honor their honorary bench coach Josiah Viera on what would have been his 19th birthday on Thursday.
For the Spikes game on Aug. 20, each player will wear Josiah’s retired number 10 on the back of their jerseys. On the front will be a hand-drawn logo by Josiah with his motto “Never Give Up.”
“The August 20 festivities will celebrate the life and legacy of one of the most inspirational individuals the baseball world has ever known, as Josiah’s perseverance and enduring spirit remain with Spikes fans to this day,” the Spikes said in a release.
Josiah’s number was retired on opening night in 2019 after his death on Christmas Eve of 2018. He was 14 years old.
The jerseys will be up for grabs through bidding on the Livesource app and proceeds will benefit Children’s Miracle Network Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital in Danville, where Viera received care during his lifelong battle with progeria, a rapid aging condition. Any winner that is at the ballpark for the game will be able to get their jersey from the player who wore it.
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Josiah was an icon for Spikes baseball. During his time as an honorary bench coach, he helped to propel the club to Pinckney Division titles and New York-Penn League championships in 2014 and 2016, the release states. He also received the 2014 Harry Mitauer Good Guy Award presented by the St. Louis Baseball Writers Association of America chapter. Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Conner even gave Viera special commendation before.
The Spikes start off the season Thursday, June 1, with a road game in Williamsport. Tickets for that, the game on Aug. 20 and for the rest of their schedule can be found online at their website.