7 year old with robotic hand to throw first pitch at World Series

A 7-year-old Las Vegas girl, who utterly loves baseball, is about to have the experience of a lifetime: She’ll throw out the first pitch during the World Series.

Credit: Yong Dawson

Hailey Dawson, who has a robotic hand, has been on a quest to throw out the first pitch for Major League Baseball teams around the country since 2015.

She and her family just received word of the World Series invitation Wednesday.

She is scheduled to appear at Game Four of the World Series, which is slated for October 28.

Everybody wants her

So far, Hailey has thrown out the first pitch for the New York Mets, the Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners, Oakland A’s, Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers.

Hailey’s mother, Yong Dawson, said she realizes she is setting the bar high by helping make her daughter’s wishes come true.

But dreaming big is important, she said.

“Pretty much to this day, anything she asks of me, …she thinks is going to happen. I guess that’s OK. I taught my kids that you have to ask. If  you don’t ask, then nothing’s going to happen.”

How it all started

Hailey was born with a birth defect called Poland Syndrome, characterized by an underdevelopment of chest muscles on one side of the body that usually includes a webbing of fingers on the same side.

When Hailey was 4, Yong Dawson began looking for a company to print a robotic hand for her daughter.  One company she found went bankrupt. Another didn’t know how to fit the hand. Still more companies had other problems.

Then the elder Dawson had an idea.

“One day I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if students made it for her?”

The University of Nevada Las Vegas engineering department not only agreed to print the hand, but follow through with yearly improvements.

Hailey received her first working hand in October 2014 and now has seven variations with an eighth on its way.

And now we come to baseball and how it came to be that all the major league teams are trying to get Hailey to come to their stadiums.

A confidence boost

Hailey’s father, Greg,  LOVES baseball.

He’s from Maryland, grew up playing and is a huge Baltimore Orioles fan.

When Hailey’s older brother, Zach, was born, he began playing baseball as soon as he was able and his father coached his team, also called the Orioles. Baseball was always on TV. They went to all Zach’s games.

Hailey’s mom first came up with the idea to have her throw out a first pitch as a way to boost her confidence. Her brother Zach told her, “I’ll be there with you.”

The start of something special

Hailey threw out the first pitch for the University of Nevada Las Vegas Rebels in March 2015. She found she liked it. The crowd cheering. The opportunity to pose for some pictures. She REALLY liked it.

“She’s kind of ham,” her mom said, adding, “I initiated this. I thought it would be a good opportunity and encourage her grip. She could be silly and gain confidence.”

Five months later, Hailey was throwing out the first pitch for the Baltimore Orioles. Two years later, more than a half-dozen first pitches were thrown out and 20 professional ball clubs want Hailey on their field.

A couple of holdouts…

Almost every team, except the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays, have been in touch about Hailey’s quest to throw out a pitch with her special sci-fi hand, her mom said. All because Hailey dared to ask. Her mother.

And to those two teams who have yet to contact this Las Vegas family  we extend what’s known as a raspberry or in some circles, the Bronx Cheer.

Confidence like crazy

“I really don’t think now her confidence could get any higher,” mom Yong Dawson said.

The Dawson family. Left to right, Zack, Greg, Hailey and Yong. Credit: Yong Dawson

Dawson, a photographer, thinks it may take about two years to travel to all the ball clubs as her husband must request time off from work as a corrections officer.

We’re pretty certain it’ll get done.

Both Hailey and her mom appear to be able to do anything once they put their minds to it.

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