The Lethbridge Bulls baseball club and Avison Young are honouring the Boys of Summer in the middle of winter.
The Bulls and Avison Young have teamed up to host the first Legends of Sports Gala Feb. 22 at the Lethbridge Lodge and are bringing some Hall of Fame talent to southern Alberta in the process, welcoming former Toronto Blue Jay and two-time World Series winner Roberto Alomar.
“We were looking to make sure everyone’s mind was still on baseball in the off-season,” Bulls project manager Chelsea Mereska said of the event, which will serve as a fundraiser for the Bulls for travelling costs, billeting and athletic equipment. “Once the World Series is over baseball kind of leaves everyone’s minds once hockey starts. We just wanted to keep the baseball atmosphere around in the winter because it’s definitely a great sport and we care about it a lot here.”
Alomar’s Hall of Fame career started in 1988 and went to 2004, and he won back-to-back World Series titles with the Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993, the only two titles in the franchise’s history to date. He spent five years with the Jays while also seeing action with the San Diego Padres, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, New York Mets, Chiago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Alomar, a second baseman, was a 12-time All-Star and won more Gold Gloves (10) than any other second baseman in baseball history. He also won the second-most Silver Slugger Awards — winning four — for a second baseman. He was a career .300 hitter with a combination of speed and power, stealing 474 bases and hitting 210 home runs over the course of his playing career. He topped 50 stolen bases twice with the Blue Jays, and hit 20 or more home runs on three occasions during his career.
In 2011, Alomar was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, in his second year of eligibility, and became the first Hall of Fame member to be inducted as a Toronto Blue Jays player. Currently, Alomar serves as a special adviser to the Blue Jays.
“We’re very excited to bring in a special guest in the baseball community,” said Mereska. “He’s really proud to come here and he’s going to bring the baseball community together in southern Alberta. He’s been really proud to travel throughout Canada after his career.”
Alomar will be a guest speaker at the gala and will also be making an appearance at Avison Young.
The Blue Jays have partnered with the Canadian Junior Little League Tournament.
“We were looking to bring in a Blue Jays player and Roberto’s name popped up when (Bulls general manager) Kevin Kvame was meeting with the Blue Jays and it ended up working out for us,” said Mereska. “This is going to help the Bulls just by raising awareness for baseball in general.”
Avison Young associate Jillian Chaffee was pleased to be on board for the first gala event.
“It’s a big deal for Avison Young,” she said. “We’re involved with many college athletic programs, such as the Lethbridge College golf tournament and we’re excited to be a part of this event and bringing Roberto Alomar in.”
Tickets for the gala go on sale Dec. 2 at Spitz Stadium. Those wanting more information on tickets or sponsorship can contact Mereska at Spitz Stadium at 403-320-2025.