2009 APBPA Banquet

The Association of Professional Ball Players of America held its 84th annual banquet on February 7th in Long Beach. The APBPA is a benevolent organization that assists indigent former ballplayers, major and minor leagues. To quote from their web site:

Since 1924, we have provided financial assistance for those professional baseball players, coaches, umpires, scouts and clubhouse men who are in need. No distinction is made between the major league player and the minor leaguer. Membership in what is a unique fraternity is the defining factor.

The Association had its origin when twelve former players met in Los Angeles and determined that there was a need to take care of the less fortunate members of their profession. From these beginnings the Association has grown to 11,000 current members. It has helped over one thousand ballplayers, players who are members of the Hall of Fame and those who enjoyed only a brief career. Total assistance rendered through 2006 is in excess of $4,300,000.

Major League Baseball and the National Association of the Minor Leagues have endorsed the Association as their benevolent organization.

Membership dues, donations, legacies and personal contributions finance the Association. Since we are a non-profit 501 C-3 organization, all such contributions are tax deductible.

The reasons for our help are many. Naturally, many of our assistance cases are older, retired players who have been ravaged by illness and the infirmities of old age. But sudden and tragic accidents and financial emergencies beyond the individual’s control create an urgent need. Our assistance has reached outside the Continental United States.

I filmed the speakers, which to my knowledge is the first time the event has been preserved on tape. Click Here to watch, it runs about 70 minutes. You need Windows Media Player and a broadband (cable modem, DSL) Internet connection.

Former major league pitcher Jim “Mudcat” Grant is the first speaker, and well worth watching for his tale about an incident involving a certain umpire. He also promoted his book The Black Aces, about the only African-American 20-game winners in the major leagues. Click Here to visit the book’s web site.

This is the second year I’ve shot photos for them.

Former major league manager and Angels broadcaster Sparky Anderson spoke, but it was before the dinner began, so I didn’t get that on video. But you’ll see Sparky in the background from time to time.

You will see Roland Hemond. Roland is best known as the former general manager of the White Sox and Orioles, but in these parts he’s revered as the first minor league and scouting director for the Los Angeles Angels back in 1961.

Awards were given to two prospects, Yankees catcher Austin Romine and Cubs third baseman Josh Vitters. Austin is the younger brother of Angels minor league shortstop Andrew Romine, who should be at Rancho Cucamonga this year. They’re the son of former major league infielder Kevin Romine. Austin couldn’t attend due to a schedule conflict, so he was represented by his parents.

You’ll also see in the video former Angels pitcher Dave Frost, John Young of Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), and San Diego radio personality Bill Werndl, among others.

The master of ceremonies was Dick Beverage, who is the APBPA secretary/treasurer. He also runs the Pacific Coast League Historical Society. Longtime Angels fans might remember Dick as a frequent guest on Angels radio pre-game shows in the 1970s-1980s. He wrote a book on the history of the old PCL Angels, which is out of print but he’s working on an update.

Below are some photos from the event.


Sparky Anderson with Kevin and June Romine
Sparky Anderson congratulates Kevin and June Romine


Sparky Anderson with Mudcat Grant
Sparky Anderson with Jim “Mudcat” Grant


Dick Beverage and Josh Vitters
Dick Beverage gives Josh Vitters the Chuck Stevens Award


Mudcat Grant
Jim “Mudcat” Grant promotes his book, “The Black Aces”


Roland Hemond
Original Angels farm and scouting director Roland Hemond


RBI Creator John Young
John Young, the creator of Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI)


Dave Frost
Former Angels pitcher Dave Frost


Bill Werndl
San Diego radio sports personality Bill Werndl



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