Visitors, staff thrilled to meet Mudcat, Chirpie
Scores of visitors and employees got free autographed baseballs and had a chance to talk with legendary baseball players Gina “Chirpie” Casey and Jim “Mudcat” Grant at the UHS Orthopedic Center Aug. 30.
The two retired athletes visited the center in connection with the 16th annual Jim “Mudcat” Grant All-Sar Golf Tournament this week at The Links at Hiawatha Landing.
They autographed baseballs that were provided and also signed some baseball cards that attendees brought with them.
The annual tournament, presented by Security Mutual, benefits local charities such as the Broome County Urban League, Boys and Girls Clubs of Binghamton, Catholic Charities of Broome County and Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse.
This year, a portion of the money raised also will go to Hurricane Harvey victims in Texas.
Ms. Casey played second base in the minor league division of the All-American Girls’ Professional Baseball League, which existed from 1943 to 1954. The organization later was the subject of the hit movie, “A League of Their Own” (1992), starring Geena Davis and Tom Hanks.
Today Ms. Casey is an official representative of the historical league.
Mr. Grant, after whom the tournament is named, is a former Major League pitcher and one of the honored “Black Aces,” the first 12 to 15 African-American pitchers to win 20 or more games in a single season. In 1965 he became the first black pitcher to win 20 games in a season in the American League and the first black pitcher to win a World Series game for the American League.
In recent years, Mr. Grant has devoted himself to studying and promoting the history of blacks in baseball and the milestones at which they broke the game’s color barriers.
Moreover, he has encouraged retired athletes of all races to engage in charitable activities, such as golf events and visits to hospitals and nursing homes.
Over the years, a number of other Black Aces pitchers and their celebrity friends have joined Mr. Grant in visiting UHS when in town to play in the Mudcat tourney.
They have toured UHS facilities, visited patients and staff, and autographed hundreds of baseballs.
These stars have included baseball’s Al Downing, Vida Blue and Ferguson Jenkins, as well as the late Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon and athlete-actor Stack Pierce.
For more information, visit allstar-golf.com.