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Dodgers alums kick off caravan painting murals

LOS ANGELES -- Former Dodgers center fielder Ken Landreaux has never considered himself much of an artist, but on Monday at Belmont High School, he had plenty of brushes in his hands.

"I don't think I've painted like this since elementary school, but I'm doing my best and having a fun time," said Landreaux.

The retired outfielder, along with nine other Dodgers alumni, kicked off the 10th annual community caravan, "Pitching in the Community," by painting murals at the high school, which sits just 10 minutes from Dodger Stadium.

Participating in the day of service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the group painted three murals in one of the school's stairwells, including a Jackie Robinson-inspired Dodgers mural.

"It is great to be in a place like this and do the service that Dr. King asked us to do many years ago," former Dodgers outfielder Al Ferrara said.

"As far as the painting though, I may be in a little bit of trouble. When I was in high school, I flunked a drawing class. I'm trying to make amends."

Brushes, buckets and paint cans were spread out across Belmont High School by the non-profit group City Year so 1,000 volunteers could help paint 60 murals.

Former Dodgers pitcher Joe Moeller had the important job of painting the sky blue in the Robinson mural. He managed to stay within the lines even while painting with an oversized brush in a crowded stairwell.

And while a few drops of paint did spill on Moeller's hands, he made sure that his World Series championship ring remained spotless.

"To get all of these volunteers out here is a pretty amazing feat," Moeller said. "I wasn't really sure what this would entail, but I'm managing.

"It's just fun to be here and joke around with a lot of guys I played with or against."

Many representatives from the high school and school board were also on hand to share their stories and give thanks to the volunteers.

"It's great to be able to honor Dr. King in this way, and we embrace the Dodgers for helping in this way," Los Angeles Unified School District Board President Monica Garcia said. "We are so pleased that Belmont can be a place of inspiration."

The caravan, presented by JCPenney, will continue on Tuesday at the Southeast YMCA in Huntington Park, where Dodgers alumni will engage in storybook reading to preschoolers.

"The Dodgers have always been a team about the community. This is L.A.'s team. We want to continue to do great things off the field," said Renata Simril, Dodgers senior vice president of external affairs.

"Having the Dodger alumni come out to paint a Dodger mural of Jackie Robinson on Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday on the day that President Obama is getting inaugurated for a second term means a lot. It shows that civil rights and human dignity are continuing."

Los Angeles Dodgers