With TV ratings for the World Series soaring, another huge audience is expected to tune in Friday night as the setting shifts to Wrigley Field in Chicago for the first time in 71 years – and the American Heart Association will be a part of the broadcast. MLB on Fox reporter Ken Rosenthal will be wearing a bow tie bearing the logo of Heart of 29, the campaign led by Baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew to boost awareness and prevention of heart disease. Rosenthal is expected to discuss the campaign and provide an update on Carew’s health as he awaits a heart transplant.

Rosenthal wears a different bow tie with a charity tie-in for every game broadcast on Fox. He announced on Sept. 20 that he’d be wearing this one during the World Series; coincidentally, that announcement came on the one-year anniversary of Carew suffering the near-fatal heart attack that led to the start of the campaign.

Carew suffered a massive heart attack at a golf course, then went into cardiac arrest during a procedure to open clogged arteries. He eventually went home from the hospital only to return to deal with severe heart failure; the muscle no longer effectively pumped oxygen-rich blood to the rest of his body. He needed a new heart but was too frail, so doctors implanted a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) to handle the pumping of blood that his damaged heart could no longer do.

Carew and Scully

Rod Carew and Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully during Carew’s visit to Dodger Stadium. (Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Dodgers)

About this time last year, Carew was still recovering from the LVAD operation when he reached out to the American Heart Association to launch what became Heart of 29, a name derived from the jersey number he wore throughout his career.

Within weeks of sharing his story, another former ballplayer was inspired to get his heart checked and discovered he needed a quadruple bypass. Saving him and his family from enduring what Carew and his family endured was exactly what Carew was seeking.

Rod Carew toured the country this year spreading his message at ballparks. He appeared at home games for his two former teams – the Twins and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – as well as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox. He also was honored at Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game in San Diego, and took part in the annual Hall of Fame weekend.

“The last year has been a challenge to say the least,” Carew said. “But through the efforts of a dedicated team of doctors and nurses, and my friends in baseball, I carry on. I look forward to continuing my work for the Heart of 29 for years to come.”

Rod Carew speaking on stage

Carew speaking at the Heart of 29 kickoff event in January.

© American Heart Association Inc. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/