Last year in this column space, I wrote about a special event at SeaCliff Country Club. It was a golf outing and banquet put on by KinderVision that featured a slew of Major League Baseball legends, including Rollie Fingers and Harmon Killebrew.
Developed by Doug Sebastian, with the assistance of law enforcement and other experts, KinderVision started developing free educational videos and other materials that were designed to be an ongoing resource for families, schools, law enforcement and youth-serving organizations to teach children how to be safe and avoid sexual predators.
Now that KinderVision has established Huntington Beach as its Orange County home base, its fundraising event returns Monday.
"MLB totally understood the connection to kids, and so they became a wonderful partner in helping us drive our mission of protecting children, teens and young adults from sexual exploitation and abduction," Sebastian said. "They also help us gather together a real team of all-stars to make these events extra special."
And how special is this year's event? In addition to Fingers, Bobby Grich, Tommy Davis, Al Downing and some other surprises, the one and only Hall-of-Famer, Ernie Banks, "Mr. Cub," will be on hand — celebrating his 80th birthday. Who would want to miss that?
The dinner will include an auction featuring 40 autographed Hall-of-Fame items, including items from 10 deceased Hall-of-Famers.
And it gets better. Everyone in attendance is given a complimentary baseball to get signed throughout the night. Every nickel made at the event will be spent in Orange County, helping protect kids. To attend the banquet, which includes a great meal, lots of ballplayers and lots of autographs, it's just $100 a ticket (a table of eight can be bought for $750 if you want to go in with some friends).
If you'd like to participate in the golf outing where a ballplayer will be part of every foursome and the banquet is included, it's $375; bring a team of three and it's $1,000.
"We have some incredible new programs designed to help protect kids," Sebastian said. "It's all about education, and we call our event 'The Greatest Save' Banquet because the greatest save is the one we never have to make. Helping to protect kids from predators is the key here."
I had the good fortune to attend last year, and I can tell you firsthand it was remarkable. To chat with all the legendary players, watch my teenaged son get his baseball signed and, most importantly, learn all about what KinderVision is up to made for an unforgettable evening.
The addition of Banks this year will no doubt make for just as memorable a night. Additionally, for anyone golfing, I'm donating a copy of my book "Roadside Baseball" to a gift bag every golfer will receive.
For information, visit http://www.kindervision.org. Hope to see you Monday night.
Finally, congratulations to my co-host Maria Hall-Brown on our victory last week at the Radio & Television News Assn. of Southern California Golden Mike Awards in Los Angeles. We won a Golden Mike for our "Forgotten OC" series, which airs locally as part of the PBS SoCal (formerly KOCE-TV) series "Real Orange." Many of the episodes have featured Huntington Beach and so it was an honor to accept the award, knowing that it's helped reveal even more about the heart, soul and history of our city.