Ballpark to Ballpark: Girl with robotic hand throws first pitch at Target Field

Throwing the first pitch at a baseball game is an honor. But for one eight-year-old girl, it's her mission. 

Hailey Dawson aims to throw out the first pitch at every Major League Baseball park by the end of this season. Monday night, she was halfway to her goal as she pitched at the Twins’ Target Field.

The third grader is setting out to prove that physical disabilities do not handicap her, while raising awareness about affordable 3-D printed medical devices. She wears a robotic hand made special for her by engineers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

“When I move my wrist down it closes, when I move my wrist up it opens,” she explained.

Hailey was born with Poland Syndrome, a rare birth defect that affects the development of her right hand. 

“I get to talk about Poland Syndrome, which is what she was born with,” said Hailey’s mother Yong Dawson. “And I get to talk about this robotic hand she has. It’s out there, people know about it but they don’t know how to get access to it.”

It all started in Baltimore in 2015. By last year, she was throwing out the first pitch at game four of the World Series. 

“She kept asking where she was going next, and I thought, ‘what do you think about doing all of them’ and she said, ‘yeah let’s do it,’” said her mother.

In all, she’s hit 14 major league baseball stadiums - 15 with the addition of the Twins.

“She shines now and, as a mom, you couldn’t ask for anything more. She doesn’t hide her hand, it’s just something that she has and she has no problem sharing it,” her mother said.

As Hailey stepped up to the mound Tuesday in Minneapolis, she had a message for everyone out there.

“If I can do it, you can do it.”

Hailey is expected to complete her goal by mid-September.