Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Let's see, we have already had 94-year-old baseball icon Buck O'Neil, NBA star Troy Murphy and 24-year-old Indy racing darling Danica Patrick in Independent Baseball activities this month. A tip of the hat to those celebrities and the people who made the events take place as bonuses for the fans.

Several others celebrity sightings will liven up games this week.

I especially like what the Florence (KY) Freedom are doing Thursday night (July 27). That nickname, Freedom, really telegraphs this story. The Frontier League team has invited SPC Jeffrey Hawk, an area soldier who recently returned from his tour of U.S. Army Reserve duty in Kuwait and Afghanistan, to throw out the ceremonial first ball prior to the game against Chillicothe, OH.

"I am proud and honored to know that there are people that still support us and what we are doing by letting me be the guest at one of my hometown baseball team's home games," said Hawk, who has been a soldier for 3 1/2 years.

Olympic skier Bode Miller will don a Nashua (NH) Pride uniform on Saturday for a one-game stint in the Can-Am League. At least $5,000 in game proceeds will funnel through his Turtle Ridge Foundation to help the crusade against cancer as the onetime New Hampshire high school tennis champion makes his appearance.

And in Joliet, IL that same night such former major league standouts as Bill Madlock, Carlos May, Vida Blue, Bert Campaneris and Bobby Thigpen will be part of the Budweiser Legends Game at the Northern League JackHammers' Silver Cross Field.

In case you missed Murphy's appearance, he was third base coach for a night for the Newark (NJ) Bears in an Atlantic League game. "It's fun eating sunflower seeds, wearing the uniform and doing the signs," said Murphy, now with the Golden State Warriors. He is a native of Morristown, NJ.

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