Springfield native aims for Guinness record to benefit Make-A-Wish Foundation

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SPRINGFIELD, NJ — Springfield native and comedian Eitan Levine is on a mission for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the organization he once benefited from as a child with cancer.

He plans to set the Guinness World Record for the most first pitches thrown at professional baseball games in a year. He needs 50 to convincingly break the unclaimed record of 40 and has done 19 so far. Yet Levine said he could see himself doing 75 or 100 throughout the year.

Guinness World Records sent him a guideline to make sure the pitches are official. They must be at a game that is already set up, not just for the purpose of the pitch. And he must have two witnesses.

The first pitch was at Trenton Thunder in June, followed by Somerset Patriots. By the end of the year, he will have stops at the Mets, Red Sox, White Sox, Guardians, and Giants, to name a few.

Levine would like to raise $100,000 to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, so he could give back. When Levine was 10, he had Ewing sarcoma, a rare, malignant bone or soft tissue cancer that mainly affects children and young adults. Since he couldn’t play sports, he started doing stand up comedy at 15. His wish was to do standup in front of an audience. The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted that for him, and he performed at Caroline’s on Broadway at 15 — drinking Shirley Temples.

Being in Guinness World Records means more to Levine than “who can eat the most sushi.” He’s able to accomplish a thing that he loves doing, throwing pitches — and of course, supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The project is being filmed for a documentary.

When Levine first found the record unclaimed, he said, “It felt like a good way to sidestep the anger and chaos. It’s apolitical. One of the things in America (that) everyone can agree on is Make-A-Wish and baseball. It’s an apolitical, anti-anger embassy.”

During college, Levine continued with comedy and started to work in journalism, writing celebrity content websites. After college, he became a finance journalist. He also created a live game show called “That’s So Jewish,” which is still running.

Levine says he’s inspired by John Stewart. “I envied his career when I was young,” he said. “The format he did for the Daily Show, no one could replicate it like he did. He cares a lot about the stuff he does. I look up to him tremendously.”

In Levine’s comedy, he makes sure to go to uncomfortable subjects. “When I tell a story about my grandmother’s Holocaust journey, or cancer, that’s the relatable stuff,” he said.

When he’s not working, he enjoys long walks — it’s his favorite thing about living in New York.

To learn more about Eitan Levine’s 50 First Pitches Project, and to make a donation, visit https://www.eitanlevine.com/50-first-pitches-project.

Photos Courtesy of Eitan Levine