Utah County boy hopes to throw opening pitch at every MLB venue

Jun 22, 2023, 11:57 AM | Updated: 2:22 pm

HIGHLAND, Utah —Throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at a Major League Baseball game is a big deal, and it’s something that 11-year-old Cooper Murray has done twice, but he plans on doing many more.

“On Memorial Day this year, Coop got to throw out the first pitch at Wrigley Field in a Chicago Cubs game,” said Brady Murray, Cooper’s father. “Shortly thereafter, lightning struck again, and the Boston Red Sox saw it, invited us out to Fenway, and he got to throw out a pitch just two weeks after that.”

Brady said the Cubs organization initially discovered Cooper’s story through social media and got interested in it.

“The best way I could describe it is a miracle,” Brady said. “It was one of those stories that a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs saw—he and his wife saw—and they reached out to us and said, ‘we love what you guys are doing, and we want to see if we can help.'”

Cooper was diagnosed with Down syndrome and had been abandoned in China as a baby, years before Brady and his wife, Andrea, adopted him.

“He was actually found as an infant, guesstimated about six months old, on a street corner early one morning in a large city in China of 14 million people,” Brady explained.

Brady said the boy was taken to an orphanage until the couple adopted him in 2016 when he was four years old. According to the adoptive father, Cooper quickly picked up on his new family’s passion for baseball.

“I will say with Cooper, right from the get-go, he was an athlete,” Brady said. “He just has a knack for baseball, he has a knack for all sports.”

For the past decade, Brady said he and his wife—through the RODS Heroes organization they founded—have advocated for orphaned children with Down syndrome and other special needs to get a family.

Cooper practicing his pitches with friends. (KSL TV)

Brady said Cooper and the organization have a lofty goal from here.

“Coop’s mission and the mission of the organization is to get him into every Major League stadium, throwing out the first pitch, to create a movement to help kids just like Coop who have Down syndrome, (and) that are orphans, be able to get adopted,” he said.

The father and Cooper alike hoped his story would inspire other families.

“These kids have so much to give,” Brady said. “All they really need is just a shot.”

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Utah County boy hopes to throw opening pitch at every MLB venue