Baseball charity group helps in bad times - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Baseball charity group helps in bad times

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Posted: Tuesday, November 3, 2009 7:22 pm | Updated: 3:13 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Arizona Baseball Charities is hosting its second annual Fields for Kids benefit dinner and memorabilia auction 6 p.m. Thursday at the Fort McDowell Casino Radisson Resort to raise funds for Little League teams throughout the state. On Friday and Saturday, there will be a poker tournament at the casino as part of the festivities.

For the last 18 years, Buddy Schultz's Arizona Baseball Charities has given thousands of dollars to Little League baseball teams and nonprofit organizations involved in the game who need equipment or diamond upgrades to improve their field of dreams.

Arizona Baseball Charities is hosting its second annual Fields for Kids benefit dinner and memorabilia auction 6 p.m. Thursday at the Fort McDowell Casino Radisson Resort to raise funds for Little League teams throughout the state. On Friday and Saturday, there will be a poker tournament at the casino as part of the festivities.

Baseball Hall of Famers Fergie Jenkins and Gaylord Perry and Chicago White Sox television broadcaster Steve Stone will attend Thursday's benefit as will 30 former major league players, including Schultz, who pitched for the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals during the 1970s and '80s.

Fort McDowell Casino and Radisson resort is at 10438 N. Fort McDowell Road northeast of Scottsdale.

Most of the former players at Thursday's event will play in the Molina Fine Jewelers Celebrity All-Star Game on Jan. 31 at Scottsdale Stadium, where $32,000 will be distributed to Little League teams.

The winner of this weekend's poker tournament will be presented with a custom diamond and gold baseball bracelet crafted by Molina Fine Jewelers in Phoenix. About 100 seats for the poker tournament are still available.

A 1960s-era acoustic guitar autographed by Elvis Presley that will be raffled off at the game in January will be showcased at Thursday's dinner. There will be 2,000 raffle tickets sold between now and the game, and the winner will be announced during the seventh inning during the game.

Ten teams will receive $1,000 each, two teams will receive $2,500 each and one will win $5,000. There also will be $300 distributed to each team that brings at least 50 people to the game.

In its last 18 years, Arizona Baseball Charities has distributed about $1 million to Little League teams, including many throughout the East Valley, and despite last year's game at Scottsdale Stadium being rained out, the charity still was able to distribute $32,000, Schultz said. As other charities have struggled because of a bad economy, Arizona Baseball Charities continues to thrive, said Schultz.

"We're up in every category," Schultz said. "We have a great board of directors, and that's what it's all about. It's not all about the money, but it's about helping out and giving back.

"If we can give a little bit, it often goes a long way," Schultz said. "A lady once said, 'With $5,000, I can build a whole field.' We don't tell people how to spend the money; we tell them, 'It's yours, do what you want with it.' We want to help kids play baseball. Baseball has given me everything - a college education and a good life, and this is my way of giving back and helping more kids to play baseball."

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