MLB Hall of Famers visit Surf City


That's what Harmon Killebrew called the recently revealed Major League Baseball steroid users to a packed dinner crowd at SeaCliff Country Club last week at the KinderVision fundraiser. It was but one of many revealing, interesting moments in the evening.

You may recall reading about KinderVision in this column two weeks ago. It is the national child safety education program dedicated to the protection of children from abduction and sexual exploitation.

KinderVision plans to host an annual golf/dinner banquet in Huntington Beach, and if next year is anything like this, we're in for a treat.

I'm a huge baseball fan, so it was a bit surreal to find not one, but two, Hall of Famers here in our city: Killebrew and Rollie Fingers, the pitcher. There were many other athletes lending their time to the cause, including former Angels Bobby Grich and Clyde Wright, former Dodger Tim Leary, former Met Rod Gaspar, and John "Blue Moon" Odom from the A's. Everyone graciously signed autographs all night long.

For the onstage question-and-answer session, though, the focus was firmly on Killebrew and Fingers. They shared some outrageous anecdotes while fielding questions from the boisterous banquet crowd, many of whom played golf with the players earlier in the day.

Asked for a funny "road story," Fingers recounted a time when he wanted to break the Oakland A's curfew of midnight to go out and meet some friends while the team was in Milwaukee. He got back after 2 a.m. and asked his roommate if anyone had done a bed check. The roommate told him no, and Fingers said he was quite relieved.

However, the next day he was fined for breaking curfew. "How'd you know I was out?" he asked his manager. "Well," the manager said, "I gave the elevator man a baseball last night. I told him, 'any ballplayer who gets in for a ride after midnight, ask him to sign this ball,' which you did."

Sebastian said he's thrilled to be running his Orange County operation from Huntington Beach.

"It's perfectly located and the people here are great," he said after dinner.

I don't golf, so I missed out on that part of the event, but the dinner and auction were simply terrific, and I look forward to the return of this event next year. KinderVision is doing very important work as it applies to protecting young people, and if it brings some big-name ballplayers to Huntington Beach for a day, that's what I call a win-win.

Some tragic news to report here as well. You may be familiar with the 3/1 Marines Foundation. In 2005, Huntington Beach adopted the 3rd Battalion/1st Marines, stationed at Camp Pendleton. The foundation's mission is, as stated, "To support these brave men and their equally brave families in any way possible, especially in times of need."

Four of the Marines were killed last week in Afghanistan, according to Dave Sullivan, chairman of the 3/1 Marines foundation.

"May you keep these soldiers and their families in your thoughts and prayers," Sullivan wrote.

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