NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Whenever Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison knocks the ball out of the park, he completes his trek around the bases with a military salute to the skies.
The ritual remains a tribute to his father, Tom, who passed away after battling lung cancer.
Tom Morrison, who was in the Coast Guard, mentored and motivated his son to achieve his big league dream. But in April 2010, at age 51, Tom Morrison was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. He died in December of the same year.
Fittingly, on Opening Day 2011, Morrison belted a home run. In remembrance of his father, he offered a salute to the heavens as he crossed home plate. His mother, Diane, tearfully watched from the stands.
"I hope he never stops doing that one," Diane said in an interview last May with MLB.com.
Morrison has no intentions of stopping his recognition, or his determination to back causes in the fight against cancer.
"She's always been there for me, as either a shoulder to cry on or to vent to," Logan said of his mother. "Whether it was going through the stuff with my dad, I tried not to show emotion. That doesn't always happen. I tried to be there for her."
Major League Baseball also is stepping up its fight against cancer as well.
These Winter Meetings include an MLB.com Auction to benefit Stand Up To Cancer, which MLB has supported since 2008 as founding sponsor. Public relations representatives from all 30 clubs were inspired to act based on individual club members impacted by the disease, and they jointly organized the auction and announced it Monday in Nashville, with MLB staff. Bidding closes at 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday, with more than 70 baseball-related experiences, ranging from clubhouse tours by players to lunches with general managers to team bus rides to meet-and-greets with 16 Hall of Fame players.
On MLB.com, fans have a chance to bid on a number of Marlins-related items, including a Giancarlo Stanton autographed helmet. There also is a chance to win a used bat that was autographed by the Miami slugger, as well as an opportunity to meet him during a Spring Training batting-practice session.
The auction is another way of helping combat a deadly disease.
For years, Morrison has been offering his time and resources in hopes of assisting others. The Marlins' 2012 Roberto Clemente Award nominee, Morrison has backed numerous cancer-related initiatives.
In January, he will conduct his annual "LoMo: Camp for a Cure." The two-day baseball instructional camp will take place Jan. 12-13 in Delray Beach, Fla. Morrison started the camp to raise awareness and funds for the American Lung Association.
"Since 2010, 'LoMo: Camp for a Cure' has really done something special with the American Lung Association," Morrison said. "We have made a long-lasting impact on the fight against lung cancer, and that will only continue to grow this year. I'm excited about our new set up at ELEV|8 Sports Institute, and I am looking forward to another great camp."
In recent years, the camp has raised more than $60,000 for the American Lung Association's Florida chapter.
"Logan has really come through a lot," his mother said. "Nobody should really have to do the things that he had to do. The one person in his life who worked so hard to get him to where he's at is not here to share it. I'm sure it's very difficult for him."