Saturday, May 5, 2012
USC baseball celebrating military appreciation day
By Pedro Moura
Louis Zamperini, a USC alum, Olympic runner and World War II veteran, will throw out the first pitch as USC celebrates Military Appreciation Day at Sunday's 1 p.m. series finale between USC and Washington.
The 95-year-old Zamperini is the subject of Laura Hillenbrand's 2011 bestseller "Unbroken." He was a successful distance runner for the Trojans as a two-time NCAA champion but also gained acclaim for his World War II exploits. He was lost at sea and spent 47 days adrift before spending two and a half years as a prisoner of war in Japan.
He was profiled in a popular CBS feature shown during the 1998 Winter Olympics before his experiences became the subject of Hillenbrand's book. Zamperini was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.
The USC baseball team will also be wearing military-inspired caps in Sunday's game designed by USC senior Ryan Morris' company Salute The Brave, which operates in the same fashion as the shoe company Toms.
For every one of its hats sold, Salute The Brave sends one in a care package to a serviceman or woman serving overseas. USC baseball is purchasing 200 hats for the game and the first 200 U.S. Veterans in attendance Sunday will receive a free hat as part of the one-for-one purchase.
Morris, a former walk-on baseball player, said he was proud to have his start-up associated with Zamperini and Military Appreciation Day.
"To have the support of both a USC and American legend means more than anything to me," Morris said Saturday. "I knew that the USC Salute the Brave hats would have a big impact on USC students looking to support the troops."