Friday, August 18, 2006

Baseball legends to hold free baseball clinic

At Hailey?s Founders Field

Express Staff Writer

It won't be all golfing and socializing for celebrity participants in the 30th annual Danny Thompson Memorial benefit golf tournament next week at the Sun Valley Resort.

Major league baseball legends attending the tournament will gather for three hours to present a "Legends for Youth" baseball clinic for up to 150 Sun Valley-area boys and girls ages 6-17 at Founders Field in Hailey.

For the first time, members of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, in cooperation with the Thompson golf tournament, will teach baseball fundamentals at each station at Founders Field.

Clinic times are 9 a.m. to 12 noon Thursday, Aug. 24. Check-in begins at 8:15 a.m. The free clinic is limited to the first 150 boys and girls. Contact Chris Timme at 578-7687 ( or David Nelson at 208-867-1379 to sign up for the one-day clinic.

Among big leaguers due to attend the Aug. 24 clinic are Brooks Robinson, Bobby Grich, Paul Hartzell and Bill Buckner.

Robinson, 69, of Little Rock, was called the "Human Vacuum Cleaner," for his defensive play. Baseball's all-time greatest third baseman was named to the Hall of Fame in 1983 after a matchless 23-year career with the Baltimore Orioles.

The friendly 6-1, 190-pounder from Arkansas had numerous major league fielding records including a .971 fielding average, best ever for a third sacker. He batted .267 with 2,848 hits in 2,896 games from 1955-77, all with the Baltimore Orioles—a major league record.

The 18-time All Star won the Golden Glove each year from 1960-75 and was baseball's Most Valuable Player in 1964 with career-best .317 batting average, 28 homers and 118 RBI. He starred on the four-time AL pennant-winning Oriole teams that won World Series titles in 1966 and 1970.

Hartzell, 52, a 6-5, 200-pound right-handed pitcher from Pennsylvania and Lehigh University, started his big league career with the California Angels in 1976 and played on four different teams through 1984.

Grich, 57, a Michigan native, played 17 American League seasons for Baltimore and the California Angels from 1970-86 and logged a .266 career batting average in 2,008 games. The 6-2, 190-pounder was a six-time All-Star and four-time Golden Glove winner at second base.

Buckner, 56, an Idaho resident born in Vallejo, Calif., played 22 major league baseball seasons and 2,517 games for five teams from 1969-90. The lefty hitter, 1980 batting champion, had a career .289 batting average and 2,715 hits.

Georgie Fenton, Danny Thompson golf tournament director, said: "We wanted to do something different to mark this 30th year and something that involved local kids."

The Thompson golf tournament attracts over 200 participants from the national and regional worlds of politics, business and sports. It is held Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 24-26 on the Sun Valley and Elkhorn golf courses.

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

The tournament is named for Danny Thompson, a Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers infielder who died of leukemia in 1976 at 29. Co-founder of the tournament was Idaho's Harmon Killebrew, a Hall of Fame baseball slugger.

Robinson, Grich, Hartzell and Buckner are celebrity participants in the 2006 Thompson tournament, which will bring 240 golfers to the resort. Other well-known figures expected are Chris Berman, Muzzie Braun, Arnie Ferrin, Killebrew, Arte Johnson, Jerry Kramer, Craig Ludwig, Jack Marin, Ed Marinaro, Kevin Sorbo and Joe Washington.

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