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Published on September 02, 2015

Top athletes sign baseballs at hospital

  • Sports heroes Troy Braman, center, got the chance to meet celebrity athletes Ferguson Jenkins, left, and Meadowlark Lemon Sept. 2 when members of the Black Aces and Jim

Scores of baseballs were autographed at UHS Binghamton General Sept. 2 and a legion of UHS patients, visitors and staff had a rare opportunity to meet three famous retired athletes in one room together.

For 90 minutes around lunchtime, former Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon, along with Major League Baseball greats Ferguson Jenkins and Al Downing, signed baseballs free of charge and talked with folks as part of the annual Black Aces' visit to Greater Binghamton.

As soon as the athletes arrived Wednesday morning, a crowd of enthusiastic fans and well-wishers lined up in the lobby for autographs.

The celebrities' appearance is connected to their participation in the Jim "Mudcat" Grant All-Star Golf Tournament, presented annually by Security Mutual and the Broome County Urban League and scheduled this year for Sept. 3 at The Links at Hiawatha Landing.

The tournament benefits four well-known local charities: Boys and Girls Clubs of Binghamton, Catholic Charities of Broome County, Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW) and Urban League.

Mr. Grant originally formed the Black Aces to call attention to the achievements of the first black pitchers in Major League Baseball to win 20 games in a season. The touring celebrity group now includes a host of retired athletes, black and white, not just baseball pitchers.