Showing posts with label Ed Stack. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ed Stack. Show all posts

Sunday, May 2, 2010

New York sports legends help give Sports Angels its wings

April 15th saw the fourth annual Sports Angels Spring Fundraiser take place at the Pig and Whistle on 36th Street. The dinner and auction served to support and raise awareness for Sports Angels' campaign to assist local youth sports organizations. Sports Angels is headed by former Baseball Hall of Fame president Ed Stack, Brooklyn Dodger great Ralph Branca and Joseph Salerno. Bobby Hoffman was honored at the event with the Community Service Award for his dedication to the Manhattan Youth Baseball program.

In attendance were a variety of New York sports legends including Branca, Bud Harrelson, Jeff Nelson, Roberto Clemente Jr., Howard Cross, and Greg Buttle. On the anniversary of Jackie Robinson's 1947 debut, Branca conveyed sentiments that were echoed by many in attendance, tonight was about helping children to play sports.

"I enjoy that we can help others, and that's what we really look forward to," Branca said. "We see some new and old friends and we want to build up an entourage of people that support us to help raise enough money to help the kids."

Stack added that the organization has seen it's greatest impact on the local level.

"We're reaching out to grassroots organizations that need help," Stack said. "They may not need a lot of money, but need uniforms and equipment and we're there to give them help so they can charge ahead."

Nelson, the former Yankee reliever and current XM radio host, saw the event as a chance to use his stature to give back to legions of kids that admire the pro athletes from afar.

"Anytime you deal with kids and sports, and you are an athlete, it's a great opportunity to help," Nelson said. "It's nice that athletes give back. The kids look up to athletes on the field and there are a lot of them here tonight. They're giving back to a good cause; I know it touches all of their hearts."

Clemente Jr. felt that the charitable nature of Sports Angels compelled him to be there. He said he was following his family legacy by supporting the event.

"Anytime you have the opportunity to help an organization like Sports Angels, you have to be present," he said. "It's a natural thing to do [help others]. If you take a look at my life and my parents lives, it's something that we do, since I was a kid. To say no to a kid or an organization that is doing well, I can't say no. It's what we do."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Brooklyn Dodgers Branca and Pignatano Ring In Sports Angels 4th Annual Spring Kickoff and Sports Auction

Ralph Branca / N. Diunte
Langans hosted the Sports Angels 4th Annual Spring Kickoff and Sports Auction on April 21, 2009 to a welcome crowd supporting the sports based charity. The auction was the foundation's major fundraiser, which serves non-profit community based sports programs. Former Brooklyn Dodger hurler and vice-chairman Ralph Branca hosted the event, gleefully thanking the crowd for coming out while singing God Bless America for the crowd.

The legendary Dodger discussed with us his involvement with Sports Angels.

"I was chairman of the board of the Baseball Assistance Team, and worked especially with the dinner committee," Branca said. "When I resigned, they all resigned at BAT. We worked together for 15 years. I said, 'Why don't we continue as another charity?' We decided to organize Sports Angels three-and-a-half years ago. We do different venues, like what we're doing tonight, and our big dinner is on September 23rd at Cipriani's, honoring Rod Gilbert for all of his charitable work. This Saturday we are sponsoring a seminar in Peekskill, for the Lapolla Little League. They needed some help, as they're running out of money, so we bought them some equipment and gave them money to hold a clinic by the Peekskill Tides. They're going to have a dozen guys running a clinic for the Little Leaguers. As we go along, we look for other agencies we can patronize."

Ed Stack / N. Diunte
Sports Angels chairman and former Hall of Fame president Ed Stack was there to greet the patrons and represent the foundation. Stack further explained the Sports Angels missions.

"We aim to be involved with all sports, not just baseball," Stack said. "Our focus is to bring sports to children and adolescents that might not be able to be engaged with sports without financial help to get the tools needed to be successful. In Brooklyn, at Jackie Robinson Middle School, we helped them to get started with a baseball program by supplying the uniforms and equipment. With the current economy, everyone is affected, but we can help identify needs in the community to help."

Joe Pignatano / N. Diunte
Another former Brooklyn Dodger, Joe Pignatano is also a board member of the Sports Angels foundation. Pignatano expressed that his love for helping kids is why he's involved with the organization.

"I've always worked with kids, I love kids," Pignatano said. "Kids keep me young. It's about the kids today."

He explained how Major League Baseball neglects its young fanbase and is losing out on a golden opportunity to develop lifelong supporters of the game.

"I don't think baseball has done anything for the kids, nothing," he said. "All they're doing is being greedy. A family cannot go to a baseball game. That's what it is all about [the family experience]. It's a shame. Unless the family is rich, the kids can't go to the game. The teams should have ticket prices separate for families that have kids. The kids have to go to the games. Without them, baseball ain't worth a damn. That's why we're here. To help the kids."

Sports Angels will have their 3rd Annual Inspiration Awards Gala on September 23, 2009 at Cipriani's Wall Street, honoring the aforementioned Rod Gilbert. More information will be provided as it becomes available. If you would like to learn more about Sports Angels, or make a donation, visit their website,