It was the top of the ninth inning on a spring day in 1927 when Detroit Tigers player Johnny Neun made baseball history. The Tigers were leading the Cleveland Indians, 1-0, when first baseman Neun took the field.
Two batters later, Cleveland had runners at first and second.
But when the third batter lined a ball down the first baseline at Navin Field (later Tiger Stadium), Neun caught it on the fly, tagged the runner off first and tagged second base before that runner could return.
Game over. It was the first — and so far only — Detroit Tigers unassisted triple play.
Like Neun, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy is turning an unprecedented Triple Play right here in Michigan — but ours is far from unassisted.
In fact, the Mackinac Center Triple Play could not happen without the phenomenal outpouring of generous support that we have seen in the past year from our donors. We have already raised $1,611,000 toward the $1,650,000 Triple Play matching grant that a longtime donor group offered early in 2011.
This means that we have only about $40,000 yet to raise in gifts or pledges to complete this dollar-for-dollar matching grant opportunity, likely far in advance of the July 31, 2013, deadline.
We take this as a testament to the ideals we share with friends like you — limited government, free enterprise and self-reliance — and as support for the three key objectives of our Triple Play campaign:
- Fix the state budget
- Stand up against federal infringements on our state (including Obamacare)
- Bring greater freedom to schools and workplaces
In the center of this issue you will find a list that captures how your support is helping the Center advance policy goals. Last year alone brought significant legislative triumphs, often in concord with or inspired by ideas the Mackinac Center has long recommended, such as lifting the cap on charter public schools and putting sensible restraints on government worker benefit spending.
More than 750 of our supporters increased their giving in 2011 to support the Triple Play campaign and help us secure this dollar-for-dollar matching grant, while more than 1,200 people joined the Mackinac Center for the first time. Many sent along encouraging notes like these:
“I thank you for your work to support sensible government.”
“I follow you on Facebook and read (your) other publications, print and on-line.
Keep up the great work!”
“Please find enclosed our donation. ... So that you may continue the fight for our freedom.”
“Continue the fight” is a good way to describe our outlook for 2012.
Even as we push ahead to raise the final $40,000 in this campaign and bring about further policy success in Lansing, we also are beginning work on two additional matching grants in 2012:
- $100,000 for the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation. A generous donor has offered to match all gifts to our legal team, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000. Your donation toward this grant would help our legal team be a voice for freedom in the judicial system.
- $175,000 for Mackinac Center journalism initiatives. This donor group will match all gifts to our Michigan Capitol Confidential and investigative reporting programs, dollar for dollar, up to $175,000. We use these funds to hold elected officials accountable to the residents they represent and bring greater transparency to all government activity.
You can make a gift to either of these grants by using the enclosed reply envelope. Please make checks payable to Mackinac Center for Public Policy and note your choice of grant(s) in the memo. You also can donate online at www.mackinac.org.
Just as Johnny Neun’s remarkable triple play didn’t mark the end of his career in baseball (he would play several more years in the major leagues, followed by decades of managing and scouting), the success of our Triple Play campaign doesn’t signal the end of our work, either.
If you have any questions about our 2012 matching grant opportunities, I invite you to contact me directly at the office at 989-631-0900 or by email at White@Mackinac.org.