Campers from 15 states traveled home from the just concluded 53rd Los Angeles Dodgers Adult Baseball Camp at Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida with extraordinary memories and experiences to last a lifetime.
Participants were treated to daily interaction with the largest group of Dodger legends ever assembled for a camp at Historic Dodgertown. The All-Star lineup of instructors included Ron Cey, Tommy Davis, Steve Garvey, Mickey Hatcher, Ken Landreaux, Rick Monday, Chan Ho Park, Jerry Reuss, Maury Wills and Steve Yeager. In addition, Hall of Fame Dodger Manager Tommy Lasorda and former National League umpire Bruce Froemming were guest instructors. Hall of Fame Dodger pitcher Sandy Koufax stopped by world-famous Historic Dodgertown.
The international flavor of the camp was evident as Hyung Moon Kim, the manager of the professional NC Dinos, and Tai Il Lee, the president and CEO of the Dinos, traveled from South Korea to participate. Also, Alberto Furlani, a second baseman who played professionally in the Italian Baseball League and a current third base coach in Italy for professional Ronchi dei Legionari, was a camper, receiving instruction and playing in daily games.
On the first day, campers and instructors witnessed the dedication of the historical marker proclaiming Historic Dodgertown as a “Florida Heritage Landmark.” Historic Dodgertown Chairman Peter O’Malley spoke at the ceremony stating how appreciative he was for the involvement of community leaders in pursuing the recognition because of the site’s “unique historic significance.” That evening, legendary broadcaster Vin Scully, the voice of the Dodgers since 1950, greeted the campers via Skype prior to dinner, stating “No other place on earth holds as many memories for me as Dodgertown.”
On the fourth day of the camp, baseball fans were treated to the traditional Campers versus Instructors game at iconic Holman Stadium, won by the instructors, 12-0, as Chan Ho Park pitched a complete-game, seven-inning shutout. All proceeds raised from the game, as well as auctions and other camper donations, totaled $5,000 to benefit the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) Hospice of Treasure Coast in Vero Beach.
“We can’t thank Historic Dodgertown enough for choosing the VNA as the beneficiary of the Campers vs. Instructors game,” said Michael Gardner, VP of Marketing & Communications for the VNA. “The crowd obviously had a great time while helping to support the VNA’s mission of providing compassionate home health and hospice care to the residents of Indian River County.”
Major awards presented to campers included: MVP – Matt Briggs (Charlotte, NC); Sr. MVP – Rick Blackwood (Charlotte, NC); Rookie of the Year – Gil Garcia (No. Hollywood, CA); Gil Hodges (Best Hitter) – Matt Briggs (Charlotte, NC); Most Improved Camper – Bruce Berger (Silver Spring, MD); Sonny Carter (Happiest/Friendliest) – Toby Warren (Auburn, AL); Pee Wee Reese (Hustle) – Dave Gaichas (Palos Park, IL); Bill Buhler (Heart/Play through Injury) – Rob Shell (Gastonia, NC); Gold Glove – Alberto Furlani (Gorizia, Italy); Comeback Player (Outstanding Returnee) – Jim Secunda (Charlotte, NC); Don Drysdale (Best RHP) – Stan Defehr (Bartlesville, OK); Sandy Koufax (Best LHP) – Bruce Flachs (Charlotte, NC); Roy Campanella (Catcher) – Bob Gregory (Bronxville, NY); All-Star Team: Pitchers – John Owens (Waxhaw, NC), Verdery Kerr (Charlotte, NC); Catcher – Jonathan Eve (Edmond, OK); Third Base – Paul Raymond (Newport Beach, CA); Shortstop – Jamie Harris (Charlotte, NC); Second Base – Jack Yeh (Los Angeles); First Base – Jay Briggs (Whittier, CA); Outfielders – Greg Simmons (Charlotte, NC), Ryan Smith (Nashville), Brad Emmanuel (Chicago), Joe Baldo (Yorba Linda, CA); DH – Kyung Moon Kim (South Korea); Utility – Paul Galletti (San Pedro, CA). The 1981’s won the team championship. Popup Contest winners were 1) Ryan Smith (Nashville), 2) Tony Altman (Tustin, CA) and 3) Alberto Furlani (Gorizia, Italy), while Hitting Contest winners were 1) Matt Briggs (Charlotte, NC), 2) Jamie Harris (Charlotte, NC) and 3) Rob Shell (Gastonia, NC).