Whitecaps Go To Bat For Charity

    COMSTOCK PARK — The West Michigan Whitecaps Winter Banquet takes place next week Tuesday, Jan. 27, and Detroit Tigers manager Alan Trammell is the featured speaker for the charity event, now in its tenth year.

    Trammell was the World Series MVP in Detroit’s 1984 championship season, and won four Gold Gloves and three Silver Slugger awards during the 20 seasons he played for the Tigers. Trammell, who retired as a player in 1996 and enters his second year as skipper of the Tabbies this season, will share his thoughts and insights on the game at the banquet.

    Tickets are still available for the event being held at the Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville. The banquet gets underway at 6 p.m. with a silent auction of sports memorabilia and other items. Dinner will follow, as will a live auction and the featured program.

    Tickets are $50 per person or $500 for a table of eight, which includes 40 raffle tickets. One can order them by calling 784-4131.

    The Whitecaps public relations coordinator, Jamie Farber said, “We’re doing well. We’re about where we were last year, but, obviously, we’re hoping that more (orders) will trickle in.”

    “We’re at about 260 right now and we hope to get up to 400,” she added. “Last year, Ernie Harwell was a huge draw and we’re hoping that people are as excited to hear what Alan Trammell has to say.”

    All proceeds from the banquet go to the Inner-City Baseball and Softball Program, which has raised a quarter of a million dollars since 1995 and given more than 4,700 children a chance to participate in organized baseball.

    Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt and Howlett is once again underwriting the event, as the law firm has done for all 10 of the winter banquets.

    “The quality of the event is always outstanding and it supports a great program in our community. We are proud to be part of it,” said Randy Boileau, Varnum marketing director.

    Just a few of the items that will be auctioned are a Joey Harrington autographed jersey, a football signed by Barry Sanders, a hot air balloon ride, an opportunity to coach first base for two innings at a Whitecaps game, a chance to go fishing with new Whitecaps manager Matt Walbeck and a chance to be a Whitecaps player for a day.

    “The winner will get to the park when the players do, change into a uniform, take batting practice with the players, hang out in the locker room, eat whatever the club has prepared for them for dinner that day, and sit on the bench during the game,” said Farber.

    “We have a lot of different great stuff that runs the gamut. We have a lot of sports autographed memorabilia.”           

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