KELLER, Texas – The Dallas/Ft. Worth chapter of the Major League Baseball Players’ Alumni Association hosted a charity golf tournament this Thursday at the Sky Creek Ranch Golf Club in Keller. Approximately 40 current and former players mixed in with local players – about 170 in all - for a
KELLER, Texas – The Dallas/Ft. Worth chapter of the Major League Baseball Players’ Alumni Association hosted a charity golf tournament this Thursday at the Sky Creek Ranch Golf Club in Keller. Approximately 40 current and former players mixed in with local players – about 170 in all - for a day of golf and a lot of baseball talk.
Jack Lazorko, former pitcher with the Angels, Brewers, Mariners and Tigers, heads up the local chapter and is the force behind the tournament. “The MLBAA is a charity that has been ongoing since 1982 when Brooks Robinson started the MLBPAA. It’s to benefit kids and under privileged kids. We donate money to hospitals and charities all over the country,” Lazorko said.
Lazorko added, “This chapter here in Dallas is probably one of the longest running chapters. It’s been going for 29 years. Eddie Robinson started it, then Doyle (Alexander) had it for a year, and I’ve doing it here for the last 15 years as the President of the MLBPAA here in Dallas.”
Getting participants is no problem at this point. He prints brochures, and it’s easy to sign up online (Baseballlegends.com), but at this point, most of his players are repeat customers. “What happens is a lot of these teams want to come back every year because they enjoy seeing the players every year. So we get a lot of repeat sponsors coming back.”
The scramble format is utilized for the tournament to make the game feasible for golfers of all skill levels. There were five-somes including a celebrity player.
Geoff Hixson, the Chief Executive Officer of the MLPAA in Colorado Springs was on hand for this tournament. He said they hold around 30 of these charity golf events over the course of a year. Some of the tournaments are done in conjunction with other organizations, though many like this one are large enough to be held just for the MLBPAA.
There were baseball relics available for auction. Many were laid out for a silent auction. There were autographed photographs of Hall of Famers Ivan Rodriguez, Alan Trammel, Ozzie Smith and Wade Boggs, among others. There was a wide selection of autographed baseballs. Included were balls signed by Lee Smith, Brett Gardner, Andre Dawson, Joey Votto, Don Mattingly and Gerrit Cole. There were gift baskets, and paraphernalia from the other Major sports teams in the area – the Dallas Cowboys, the Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas Stars. A couple of baseballs were slated to be auctioned live after the golf was finished. They were autographed by Duke Snider and Mike Trout.
Interestingly, three of the former Major League players on hand are perhaps more recently known for their sons’ work on the gridiron at quarterback. Steve Buechele (son Shane at SMU), Ken Hill (Kenny formerly at Texas A&M and TCU), and Pat Mahomes (Patrick of the Kansas City Chiefs) all took part.
Ken Hill echoed the sentiment of most of the players and former players there. “Shoot I’ve been doing this since it first started. Giving back. Being part of the Alumni. Visit with the fellows and have fun. I like to see all the guys, all the ex-players, just being around them whooping and hollering. It’s always a special time.” He says he also plays at the tournament put on at the WinStar Casino in Oklahoma.
One Keller resident was in the field for the third straight year. He doesn’t play with any particular group of people. “I just told Jack (Lazorko) to put me wherever.” He likes meeting different people. As for players, he says, “It’s always nice to see guys that I grew up watching (playing in the Majors.)” He was especially interested in seeing former Rangers Kevin Mench and Jeff Frey.
The Sky Creek Ranch is a magnificent setting for the tournament. The 18 hole golf course was designed by Robert Trent Jones. It’s a par 72 course that is 6,953 yards long from the pro tees. The clubhouse sits atop the highest point in Tarrant County.
The tournament is a big undertaking. Lazorko, though, has put it together for so long that he makes it look easy. It was a day of no losers. The fans got to play an outstanding layout. Current and former players got to reunite. Most of all, a notable amount of money was raised to help disadvantaged children across the nation.