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Pelham Student Honored at Yankee Stadium

BRONX, N.Y. – Pelham High School football and basketball captain Jon Miller received a special treat  at Yankee Stadium Friday evening when he and six other youths were named as the 2012 Con Edison Yankees Kids.

Miller, the Westchester County honoree, stood near home plate with the other students as the public address announcer recited each of their names. New York Yankees centerfielder Curtis Granderson came out of the dugout and shook hands with each honoree.

The 16-year-old lifelong Yankee fan said he did not know he would be honored on the field until he arrived at Yankee Stadium.

“To be honest, I’ve never been on a formal, professional field, (Yankee) Stadium or any field, so it’s going to be the first time,” Miller said about 30 minutes before he took the field. “I’m really excited. Scared. Nervous.”

The honorees and their guests gathered in Suite 62 at the stadium at approximately 5:30 p.m. Miller and the other honorees stepped to the front of the room one at a time and received a certificate and a Con Edison Yankees jacket as legendary Yankees pitcher Ron Guidry greeted them.

“What they’re doing here is great for the kids, but the kids work hard to get where they are,” Guidry said. “It’s a pleasure to see watch them grow. It’s always been that way.”

Asked what it’s like to return to such functions as a retired player, Guidry smiled.

“It’s always a pleasure to come back. It’s a different capacity,” Guidry said. “You’re not pitching over here. There’s no pressure on you. Nobody blames the game on you. You can come and you blame the game on somebody else. It’s fun.”

Pelham basketball coach Mark Finegan, who sits on a Con Edison committee, nominated Miller for the honor. When Finegan, a Yankee fan, heard about the program and the qualities it sought from prospective honorees, he said he immediately thought of Miller.

“He’s a really nice and deserving kid. You see a big hulking figure like him sometimes, but he’s really like a gentle giant. He’s a wonderful, wonderful kid,” Finegan said. “He’s very deserving. It’s nice when something nice happens to a good kid.”

Finegan said he had to explain to his students who Guidry is and listed his accomplishments. He, too, was pleased to meet Guidry and thanked Con Edison for the chance.

“That’s one of the nice things about being on the Con Ed committee. Con Ed is so generous with things like this,” Finegan said. “To have me and six of my students come to Yankee Stadium to a luxury suite is pretty darn nice. We really appreciate Con Ed and it’s a nice night for them.”

Miller and the others returned to the suite after the ceremony on the field to watch the Yankees take on the Seattle Mariners. Two of his basketball teammates and three girls from the volleyball team joined him, along with Finegan.

Miller admitted he was not too familiar with Guidry, but said his father was aware of the hurler, who went 25-3 with a 1.74 ERA in 1978. But his unfamiliarity by no means lessened the experience.

“It’s pretty intense, since he’s one of the best pitchers, I hear,” Miller said. “I didn’t grow up when he was a pitcher. My dad grew up with him and everything. It was pretty intense.”

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