Lyle Overbay of the Toronto Blue Jays received the American Legion Baseball 2009 Graduate of the Year award May 15 in Toronto. He played Legion Baseball for Post 17 in Centralia, Wash.
American Legion National Vice Commander James LaCoursiere presented the award in Toronto, along with Don Hays, American Legion Baseball chairman for the Department of Washington.
Overbay ranks seventh in the major leagues with 163 doubles; the first baseman has a .995 fielding percentage over the past six seasons. He graduated from the University of Nevada-Reno in 1999.
Overbay returns to Centralia in the off-season, where he conducts annual hitting clinics for hundreds of young ballplayers. He helped upgrade numerous baseball facilities in his hometown and was the major contributor to a new indoor batting cage used by youth there. He also hosts an annual golf tournament that supports local Legion Baseball teams.
The Graduate of the Year award is presented to a professional baseball player and American Legion Baseball alum who best exemplifies the principles and purposes of the program. Past recipients include Stan Musial, Scott Rolen, Steve Carlton, Tony Gwynn, Ted Williams, Yogi Berra, Ryne Sandberg, Dave Winfield, Greg Maddux, Gary Carter and Jeff Bagwell.