Just know this: When the Green Diamond Gallery does anything, it’s done well. Without exception, the Green Diamond Gallery 2010 Hall of Fame Luncheon was a fantastic event. The event, held on Thrusday, August 12, 2010 at Montgomery, Ohio’s Montgomery Inn, featured the Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2010, Andre Dawson, Whitey Herzog and Doug Harvery. It also served as a kick-off for the Gallery’s charity, The Character & Courage Foundation. A packed dinning room at the Inn was the scene for one of the few times you’ll ever get to see an entire Hall of Fame class together in one place outside of Cooperstown, NY. Over a lunch of chicken and ribs, each of the inductees spoke for a few minutes, expanding on their careers, their reaction to being inducted and their memories of playing, managing and umping in the Queen City. Whitey told a rather entertaining story about meeting Pete Rose at home plate with their lineup cards the day after the gambling story first broke in 1989. Pete declared the Reds were going to kick the Cardinals butt that night while Whitey shot back “Wanna bet?” Classic stuff.
After the round of stories from each Hall of Famer, the floor was open for Q&A with your typical range of questions: “Who was the toughest pitcher you ever faced?” “Who was the best player you ever managed”. The first question directed at Umpire Doug Harvery asked “What was the worst thing you were ever called?” As you can imagine, none of the possible answers were repeatable in such a public forum… haha
In what proved to be the most touching part of the program, the Character & Courage Foundation gave out its very first annual awards, the Character Award and Courage Award to a pair of Cincinnati teenagers.Receiving the Character Award was 18-year-old Greg Miller. Despite being diagnosed with Autism, Greg is leading a remarkable life, becoming a star player and leader on his Miracle League baseball team as well as being “Comet Man”, the official mascot at Mason High School.
19-year-old Ashley Freeny was the recipient of the Courage Award. After losing both of her parents, Ashley turned to softball to cope with her hardships and became a leader both on and off the field.Both Greg and Ashley addressed the room and were outstanding. Tell you what, it’s not easy to to follow FOUR Hall of Famers at the podium. Yep, four… don’t forget Marty!
During the program, a video as played, introducing the Character & Courage Foundation to those in attendance. The video appropriately features Greg and Ashley.
All proceeds benefited the Character and Courage Foundation. Ticket sales are a big part of that, but there were also a fair amount items to bid on, including bats signed by the Hall of Famers, jerseys, trips and more. The one piece of action I got in on was an Official MLB Hall of Fame Baseball signed by all three inductees. At each table, the centerpiece had a signed baseball placed on top. Each table had a bid sheet for it… and I won the one at our table. I don’t have a whole lot of signed baseballs in my collection, so this was a great addition, and my money went to a great cause. Win win.
To wrap up the program, lunch was capped off with a pretty fun surprise – Violinist Glenn Donnellan preformed “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” on his electric baseball-bat-violin. Here’s some video for ya:
Oh, and we all got commemorative candy bars. NOM!
For more information on The Character & Courage Foundation, visit www.characterandcourage.org.