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Former big leaguers lead kids' baseball clinic

Published: Friday, July 11, 2014 10:19 a.m. CDT

SYCAMORE – Local youth will pick up baseball tips from former major league greats, including George Foster and Ron Kittle, July 19.

The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Legends for Youth Clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 19, at Field 1 at Sycamore Park, 435 S. Airport Road, Sycamore. The free baseball clinic is for ages 5 to 16, and is limited to the first 250 who register.

According to its website, Legends for Youth is a charitable program running more than 85 free events each year nationwide. Its mission is to promote baseball to America's youth using positive sports images and personalities. Former major league baseball players will instruct both boys and girls on the fundamentals of the game.

Todd Bavery, regional vice president of finance and administration for Hanover Insurance, which is co-sponsoring the event with the Crum-Halsted Agency, said this is the 18th clinic to be staged in this region in the last six years, but this is the first time it will be held in DeKalb County.

"It's a pretty big deal," he said. "They really put them through the paces."

Foster, best known as an outfield for the Cincinnati Reds' famed "Big Red Machine" of the 1970s, was the National League's Most Valuable Player in 1977. A five-time All-Star, he slugged 348 home runs in his 18-year career, leading the league in homers twice and RBIs three times.

The American League's Rookie of the Year in 1983 for the Chicago White Sox, Kittle played for four teams in 10 seasons, including three times for the White Sox.

Bravery said former Chicago Cub Milt Pappas, who lives in the Chicago area, often shows up for the clinics, as do former Cub Gene Hiser and former St. Louis Cardinal John Martin.

Former major league baseball players who have appeared in past clinics include hall of fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins, Lee Smith, Carlos May, Jimmy Piersall, and Bill Madlock.

Besides instruction, youngsters will get a T-shirt and autographs from the former players.

Registration on the day of the Sycamore clinic begins at 8:30 a.m. Young players should bring their baseball mitts with them. Advance registration is available online at mlbpaa.mlb.com. Click on "Events," "Clinic Series," and "Sycamore Clinic."

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