Hall of Fame baseball player Rod Carew, who underwent a heart transplant in December, received the organ donation from former Baltimore Ravens tight end Konrad Reuland.
The families plan to work together on an American Heart Association campaign, "Heart of 29", to raise awareness and prevention of heart disease.
Reuland died on December 12 from complications of a brain aneurysm he suffered in November and was out of professional football at the time, having bounced around the league for five seasons as a tight end.
Reuland, an organ donor, was a match with Carew due in large part to his immunity to Hepatitis B. As a result, Carew received Reuland's heart and a kidney.
That man is MLB Hall of Famer Rod Carew.
Former Ravens tight end Konrad Reuland lay facedown on his bed previous year, his head swelling after an aneurysm that would prove fatal, when doctors turned him on his back so that family members could say goodbye.
Reuland's mother was told the recipient was a 71-year-old man from Southern California. He was 29. Over the final hours Mary spent with her oldest child, she kept her right ear on his chest. Along the way he earned a reputation for being great with kids, including one wide-eyed boy named Konrad Reuland.
The donor, she was told, was 29 - the same age as Reuland and the number Carew wore when he smacked 3,053 hits over his career.
Reuland's folks, Ralf and Mary, and their most youthful child Austin alternated tuning in through a stethoscope to Konrad's heart thumping inside Carew's trunk when they met the previous baseball star and his significant other Rhonda, as indicated by the American Heart Association News.
It is believed to be the first organ transplant between professional athletes. Carew underwent a successful procedure.
But Carew also had a military commitment, and spent parts of the next six years as a combat engineer with the Marine Corps Reserves, an experience he considered a "life-changing event".
"We lost a wonderful man, so it had to go into a wonderful person", Mary Reuland said (per the Ravens' official website).
'I just thank him for saving my life and putting a roaring heart inside my body, ' Carew said.
On March 2, the Carews and Reulands got together.
He went on the transplant waiting list the Friday before Thanksgiving and moved higher a few weeks later.
"And then when we left I said, 'Whoever gets his heart, better deserve it, '" Mary said.
"That's how it was the whole rest of the day", Mary Reuland said."It was really kind of cute".
"Happy Birthday, Konrad. I promise to always care for your very priceless gifts".
"This is Mary Reuland, ' she said".