For any baseball fan, this is golden. The 25th Annual Joe DiMaggio Legends Game at the old Fort Lauderdale Stadium, where the New York Yankees trained between 1962 and 1995. Among the players were Bill "Spaceman" Lee, Bert Campineras, Jay Johnstone, Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd, Cookie Rojas, Ed Kranepool, Jackie Hernandez, Warren Cromartie, Orlando Cepeda, Rico Carty, Jose Cardenal, and more.
The game was held January of 2013. I found the ad on a list of annual events by Society of American Baseball Researchers (SABR). Little did I know who I would run into. I grew up watching some of these players, especially Jose Cardenal, who was a character in Wrigley Field during the 1970's. Jay Johnstone and Bert Campineras were the friendliest couple of guys I could have spoken to.
The Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Foundation supports Memorial Healthcare Systems which provides family centered care, regardless of the ability to pay. Since 1988, Joe DiMaggio's Legends Game has raised funds for a wide scope of healthcare services and programs to benefit residents in Broward County. The Tour de Broward is another fundraiser held every February. That event collected $350,000 last year and was held again this year.
But, this 25th annual Joe DiMaggio Legends Game was bitter sweet, as it was announced, to everyone's surprise, that it would be the final one. I wasn't sure why. A row of 4-5 seats did collapsed (with fans sitting on them). The stadium is a bit aged. The fans were alright. Of course, my first thought was to volunteer to take the seats home.
Yes, it was a surreal day indeed to be in the midst of so many players from the past, memories of a forgotten time. Ron Harper (of the Chicago Bulls and a Michael Jordan teammate) was in uniform and played, along with some other local celebrities. Even the grand-daughter of Joe DiMaggio was on hand to watch the game.
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