(Binghamton, NY • August 30, 2018) This week an All-Star cast assembled in Binghamton to swing at the 17th Annual Jim “Mudcat” Grant All-Star Golf Tournament at the Links at Hiawatha Landing.
Adding to the excitement of this year’s tournament has been an All-Star lineup, featuring many new celebrities, as well as a host of returning favorites. The star returning All-Star is, of course, famed major league baseball player, entertainer and sports broadcaster Jim Mudcat Grant, for whom the tournament is named. “Mudcat’s enthusiasm and his commitment to helping people are truly inspirational,” said Security Mutual Life Chairman, President and CEO Bruce W. Boyea. “From the time we first came up with the idea of the tournament, and continuing right on up through today, Mudcat has given of his time and talent to make the event a success for the benefit of families and children in Greater Binghamton.”
Joining Mudcat for this year’s tournament are more than 35 celebrities, including two fellow Black Aces*: J.R. Richard and local favorite “Gentleman Al” Downing, who played for the Binghamton Triplets in 1961 prior to joining the Yankees. And for those Yankees and Mets fans, we’ve got the bases covered! This year’s tournament features players from both teams, including “Miracle Mets” player Art Shamsky, as well as Yankees player Ron “the Boomer” Blomberg who is new to the tournament this year. Another new player is Al Oliver Jr., who has been mentioned more than once as a possible inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Rounding out the sports lineup are six former football players, plus five basketball players who will challenge tournament participants to some friendly hoops competition on the links.
“We are delighted to welcome such a stellar group of sports greats to Binghamton for the benefit of our community’s children and their families,” said Boyea. “And it is thanks to our equally stellar sponsors, donors, volunteers, and other supporters that this great event is taking place—without their generosity and continued loyal support, none of this would even be possible.”
In addition to participating in the August 30 Tournament, a number of the celebrities arrived early to visit patients at Lourdes and UHS hospitals, as well as to present an educational program to children from the Broome County Urban League and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Binghamton.
“It is indeed an honor and a pleasure to be here again this year,” said Al Downing. “We talk so much about what athletes give back; we never talk about what communities give back. What Security Mutual gives back is far greater than what we could ever give back because you do it 365 days a year. And it’s my pleasure to be part of that contribution and to be here again.”
The net proceeds raised from the tournament will help support the educational, recreational, wellness and other programs offered by the Broome County Urban League and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Binghamton, as well as the food programs run by CHOW and Catholic Charities of Broome County. In addition, a separate fundraising event held during the tournament raises proceeds to help support U.S. veterans, particularly homeless veterans in Broome County.
Marybeth Smith, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Binghamton, spoke on behalf of the charitable organizations. “We want to make sure that what we do at the agencies is with our children, is with our families. It’s not for one day—it’s for the rest of their lives. We want to plant that seed. We want to make sure that those children can succeed; the fathers and the mothers can provide for their families—not just one day, but every day. And we can do it better because of everybody here, everybody who comes together every year to support this fundraiser.”
“I think it’s important that we highlight and recognize the hard work these individuals do with their nonprofit organizations,” said Binghamton Mayor Richard David. “These five different organizations touch on so many facets of daily life, and every day the challenge re-sets.”
“I am from the south side of Chicago, and my life was very rough growing up,” said former professional football player Fred “the Hammer” Williamson. “And I identify with these charities because I know how fortunate a kid is when somebody steps in to help them. I identify with the Boys and Girls Clubs because they helped me along the way. I attribute my success to being what I am today—a famous football player, movie star, producer, director—all those things I have achieved, because of organizations like that.”
Some of this year’s All-Stars join Security Mutual Life Chairman, President and CEO Bruce W. Boyea (right) to kick off the 2018 Tournament. (l to r) MLB player Kurt Bevacqua; pro football star, actor, director, writer and producer Fred “the Hammer” Williamson; All-American Girls Professional Baseball League member Gina “Chirpie” Casey; MLB player and Cy Young Award winner Vern Law; and MLB player Al Downing.
MLB player Al Downing.
Marybeth Smith, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Binghamton, describes how the Tournament proceeds help each of the charitable organizations make a difference in the lives of the people they serve.