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Ft. Wayne MSBL Charity Game

Final Score: Legends 15, MSBL Elite 4

By Jim Garrett, Ft. Wayne MSBL

(This article appeared in the Summer 1994 issue of HardBall Magazine)

August 26, 1993—The Ft. Wayne MSBL staged a charity game to benefit Northeast Indiana Easter Seals beautiful new Memorial Stadium, home of the minor league Ft. Wayne Wizards. Facing the MSBL Elite were The Legends, a team of ex-major leaguers.

The evening began with The Legends taking batting practice, as both teams shagged balls in the outfield and warmed up. For the MSBL Elite, it was also a time to get autographs and visit with The Legends, a monumental thrill.

The Legends of Baseball line up on the third base line as their names are called. (L-R): Bill Lee, Doug Flynn, Rodney Scott, Paul Blair, John Stearns, George Foster, Bobby Tolan, Bill Almon, Bert Campaneris, Pedro Borbon, Mark Fidrych, Al Oliver (not pictured: Mike Torrez).

Pre-Game Ceremonies

MSBL Elite team (L-R): Bill Bandor, Marty Causey, Rich Dunno, Dan Eash, Glen Gerke, Steve Howell, Terry Milton, Jay Metzger, Jim Murdock, Greg Nix, Mitch Overmeyer, Gary Payne, Kevin Rodenbeck, Tom Rodenbeck, Jim Rye, Jim Shovlin, Dave Talley, Terry Teegardin, Jerry Thomas, Kevin Wright, Tom Wylie, Kevin Yenna, and Milt Yoquelet.

Before the game, Kevin Wright of the Ft. Wayne MSBL Cubs challenged George Foster in the Home Run Derby, which Foster won by the narrowest of margins. Following the Derby, the lineups were announced, the color guard presented the Flag for the playing of the national anthem, and Hall of Famer Johnny Bench threw out the first ball.

Bert Campaneris greeted Elite starter Terry Milton (Marlins) with a double to the left field wall. Billy Almon reached on an error and Bobby Tolan followed with a single to drive in the first runs of the game. Milton retired Foster and John Stearns on fly balls to center and struck out Paul in the inning.

After Mike Torrez retired the MSBL in order in the bottom of the first, Milton gave up three hits and a run in the Legend second. In the home half, Kevin Wright singled. Marty Causey (Tigers) doubled him to third.Jim Shovlin (Marlins) followed with a shot up the middle, bringing home two runs for the Elite. Jerry Thomas (Cubs) singled in one more, tying the game, 3-3.

The Bird

The Legends got two in the third off new pitcher Jerry Thomas, thanks to a searing double by Doug Flynn. Mark "The Bird” Fidrych took the mound in the bottom half. Fidrych ran to the mound, dropped to his knees, and began patting and sifting the dirt. After each warm-up pitch, he talked to his arm and hand, instructing them as to the proper motion and release point. With characteristic intensity and determination, The Bird blanked Ft. Wayne in the third and fourth.

Ft. Wayne flashed some leather in the fourth, as Bill Bandor(Yankees) made a leaping catch of Bill Almon’s drive in left, and pitcher Kevin Yenna (Tigers) snared Bobby Tolan’s rocket. In the fifth and sixth, the Legends began to pull away, pounding six hits for eight runs.

Foster Launches One

After Causey singled again and scored the MSBL’s final run in the bottom of the sixth, Foster gave the fans a thrill in the seventh. Before settling into his stance, Foster indicated to Jerry Thomas where he’d like the next pitch. Thomas delivered a fastball exactly as requested, down the middle, just above the knees. The ball was still rising as it cleared the top of the net behind the left field fence by at least ten feet and left Memorial Stadium for parts unknown.

Fans and players cheered as George, plainly enjoying himself, rounded the bases. A magical ending to a special evening, and a worthwhile community effort for the Ft. Wayne MSBL!

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