Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Thompson Memorial to hold a baseball clinic

For young local ballplayers in August

There are some new wrinkles in store for the Danny Thompson Memorial golf tournament, which in August will mark its 30th year raising money to fight leukemia.

Georgie Fenton, tournament director, said the organizers are working with the Major League Baseball Alumni Association to bring well-known baseball stars to Sun Valley and Elkhorn for golf and more.

The "more" is a planned local baseball clinic with young Wood River Valley ballplayers.

Fenton said, "We wanted to do something different to mark this 30th year and something that involved local kids. So we hope to bring in these players to play in the golf tournament and also run clinics for kids."

The dates and times of the clinics haven't been scheduled, but they will take place during the tournament, she said. The tournament runs Wednesday through Saturday, Aug. 23-26 on two Sun Valley golf courses.

Fenton said she will work with Wood River High School baseball coach Matt Nelson to coordinate the baseball clinics.

Certain to take part in the clinics are Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson and Harmon Killebrew, Paul Hartzell and Bobby Grich. Tentative participants include Don Baylor, Wally Joyner, Terry Steinbach, Davey Johnson, Mark Langston and Mike Scott.

In 29 years, the Thompson Memorial has raised $7,927,500 for cancer research, split between University of Minnesota Leukemia Research Foundation and Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI) of Boise. Last year's proceeds were $622,000, third highest ever.

This year's celebrity participants include "Hill Street Blues," cast member Ed Marinaro, one of college football's greatest running backs for Cornell University and a durable pro football player for the NFL Minnesota Vikings.

The 2006 Thompson will also host a two-time Stanley Cup winner in Craig Ludwig, 44, the University of North Dakota skater who played 1,256 National Hockey League games from 1982-99—winning Stanley Cups in Montreal in 1986 and Dallas in 1999.

Others are Arnie Ferrin of Ogden, the former University of Utah athletic director who was a four-time basketball All-American for the Utes from 1944-48, and Duke basketball All-American Jack Marin, one of the founding fathers of the Celebrity Players Golf Tour.

Also due are sportscaster Chris Berman, baseball player Bill Buckner, comedian Artie Johnson, football players Joe Washington and Jerry Kramer, and actor Kevin Sorbo.

The tournament is named for Danny Thompson, a Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers infielder who died of leukemia in 1976 at 29.

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