THE Winnipeg Goldeyes have recruited one of the game's Canadian greats to help celebrate when the American Association all-star game comes to Winnipeg. Chicago Cubs legend Ferguson Jenkins will toss out the opening pitch at the 2014 all-star game, which is set for July 29 at Shaw Park.
Before that, the Hall of Fame pitcher will serve as guest speaker at the all-star luncheon at the Fairmont Hotel and will also be on hand to sign autographs for fans during the evening tilt.
Jenkins, a 1971 Cy Young Award winner, grew up in Chatham, Ont., and was the first Canadian Hall of Famer. He pitched 19 seasons in the big league, mostly with the Cubs, and that team retired his No. 31 in 2009. He also played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox.
In a statement on Wednesday, Goldeyes general manager Andrew Collier called it an "honour" to host Jenkins. "He is one of the great ambassadors of the game of baseball in Canada," Collier said. "I am sure our fans and supporters will be excited to hear him speak."
Basketball legend Earvin (Magic) Johnson is set to visit Winnipeg next summer, when he will deliver the keynote speech at the 42nd annual 'Y' Sports Dinner.
Johnson, a five-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers and a member of the American "Dream Team" that enchanted at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, will speak at the June 19 RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg gala, which raises money for programs and scholarships at the Rady JCC.
"Magic Johnson has a powerful story to tell, not only one of incredible success in the NBA, but also one of surviving HIV and succeeding in life after sport," said Gayle Waxman, Rady JCC executive director.
In 1991, in the middle of his stratospheric basketball success, Johnson went public with his HIV diagnosis, and stepped away from the game. He returned to the league twice, finally retiring in 1996, but his willingness to speak about the virus played a key role in building awareness and pushing back stigma of HIV.
He also became an entrepeneur, building Magic Johnson Enterprises into a $700-million business empire, and acquired a stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The dinner raises funds to support Rady JCC programs, as well as scholarships and subsidies for low-income people.
Individual and corporate table tickets for the dinner, which includes a four-course meal as well as charity auctions, are available by calling 204-477-7513 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.