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Lowell puts on dancing shoes for charity

Lowell puts on dancing shoes for charity

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. -- No one complained Saturday night when Mike Lowell was named the grand prize winner of his own dancing competition.

It was the Red Sox third baseman who, after all, brought all of his teammates together for a night of unforgettable entertainment and dancing competition never before seen by Major League players.

With the assistance of the Red Sox Foundation, Lowell hosted "Mike Lowell's Dancing With the All-Stars" to benefit his own foundation and their efforts to raise money to fight cancer in children. Lowell and his wife, Bertha, created the Mike Lowell Foundation in 2001 when he was with the Florida Marlins.

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Red Sox owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president/CEO Larry Lucchino, along with the team's partners sponsored the event to honor the work Lowell has done to help children in Miami and Boston.

Lowell was motivated to reach out as a survivor of testicular cancer in 1999.

"I was lucky that I never had to worry about paying for treatments. But there are families out there who can't afford it, and that's who we are trying to help," Lowell told the audience before the program began.

Lowell was joined on the dance floor at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs by teammates Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia and Alex Cora.

Each player was paired with a professional dance partner who, in two hours, taught merengue and salsa steps that usually take two weeks to master. The event was Cuban-themed to celebrate Lowell's heritage.

It didn't take long for his teammates to lighten the mood, beginning with Papelbon, whom came out in a black lace top -- a hard look for any dancer to pull off, not to mention one with a build like the intimidating Red Sox closer. But with the help of Teresa Kasler, he did.

Pedroia came out and proceeded to rip off his shirt while dancing his best with Kolina Erina.

Cora was partnered with Latasha Strawder, while the host capped off the festivities with a salsa number with Christine Lopez.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona attended the event, while teammates Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, Josh Beckett, Javier Lopez, Sean Casey and Jacoby Ellsbury all provided emotional support and some unbiased judging during the nerve-wracking dancing contest.

Silent and live auctions were held, including a $32,000 winning bid on a specially commissioned 2007 Red Sox World Series ring. All of the proceeds raised from the night will go to benefit Lowell's foundation.

Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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