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Baseball: ‘Boys of Summer’ are back in town

Pro Baseball Banquet on top tonight at Hilton

For the past nine years, prominent individuals in the major league baseball world have come to Lafayette to help the city’s Housing Authority raise funds for its youth programs.

Tonight is no different, with several major league players and team personnel taking part in the 10th annual Professional Baseball Banquet beginning at 7 p.m. at the Hilton Lafayette & Towers.

Among the confirmed players are second baseman Ian Kinsler of the Texas Rangers, outfielder Dave Dellucci of Baton Rouge and the Cleveland Indians, pitcher Scott Dohmann of Lafayette and the Tampa Bay Rays and pitcher Shane Youman of New Iberia and the Philadelphia Phillies.

In addition, the Rangers will be represented by general manager Jon Daniels and field manager Ron Washington, continuing a strong tradition of participation by the club. That’s mostly due to Mel Didier, the Rangers” senior advisor of Arizona operations and pro scouting and a familiar name to local UL and baseball fans.

"We’re proud to do this every year," said Didier, who served as the Cajuns’ baseball coach for two seasons in the early ’80s before returning to what is now a six-decade career in Major League Baseball. "It’s an honor because the people that put this on do it for the right reasons. They’re helping kids in a lot of different areas."

Former multi-year All-Star Dave Stewart will also take part as well as ex-NBA standouts Gus Williams and Joe Ward and Olympic team handballer Arthur Culbreath. UL baseball coach Tony Robichaux and Southern coach Roger Cador will be special guests for the event.

Other current and former Major Leaguers and several local products also playing professionally are expected to participate but were not confirmed as of Wednesday afternoon.

Proceeds from the banquet and its related activities, which include a Friday golf tournament and celebrity softball game, are used to help the Lafayette Housing Authority’s tutorial programs, organized sports programs, counseling, transportation of youth in public housing to educational programs, and assistants to child care centers.

Walter Guillory, himself a former UL standout who played in the Oakland Athletics organization, is the executive director of the Lafayette Housing Authority and inaugurated the banquet in 1999.

"Walter and his group do so many things with so little money," said Didier, who recently published a book about his long career in baseball. "They could do so much more with more funds, and that’s why this is so important."

Buddy Lewis, a stand-up comedian who has appeared on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam and BET’s Comic View, will serve as master of ceremonies.

A limited number of tickets are still available for the banquet, and information is available by calling Lydia Bergeron or Danielle Carmouche at the Housing Authority office at 233-1327.

10th Annual Professional Baseball Banquet and Golf Scramble/Celebrity Softball Game


(Lafayette, LA) – The Housing Authority of the City of Lafayette and the Opelousas Housing Authority will host the 10th Annual Professional Baseball Banquet at 7:00 p. m. on Thursday, January 10, 2008 at the Hilton Lafayette & Towers on Pinhook Road.

In making the announcement, Walter Guillory, Executive Director, said, “We are thrilled to host our 10th Annual Professional Baseball Banquet in January of 2008.  We have extended invitations to Dave Stewart, Will Clark, our own Louisiana Lightning, Ron Guidry, Texas Rangers G. M., Jon Daniels; Rangers Manager, Ron Washington, Rangers players Ian Kinsler and Michael Young, Rickie Weeks, Ryan Theriot, Shane Youman, Scott Dohmann, Danny Ardoin, Paul Bako, Lyle Mouton Jr., Russ Springer, Brian McRae, Mel Didier, Sr., Andre Dawson, Rickey Henderson, former NBA players Gus “The Wizard” Williams and Joe Ward and others.” 

Guillory continued, “We are especially pleased to have as our Master of Ceremonies Buddy Lewis, who is a stand up comedian, actor and writer living in Los Angeles, California.  Buddy has made appearances on HBO’s DEF Comedy Jam and BET’s Comic View.  He has also been the opening act for Patti Labelle, Chris Rock, Tommy Davidson and the late Robin Harris.  We know banquet attendees will enjoy his presence.”

Proceeds from the upcoming banquet will be used in the continuation of tutorial programs, continuation and creation of organized sporting programs, counseling, transportation of youth in public housing to educational programs, and additional assistance to the child care center. 

For more information regarding the banquet, please contact Lydia Bergeron or Danielle Carmouche at 337-233-1327.

Golf Scramble/Celebrity Softball Game

(Lafayette, LA) –In conjunction with the 10th Annual Professional Baseball Banquet, sponsored by the Housing Authority of the City of Lafayette and the Opelousas Housing Authority, a Golf Scramble will be held at The Wetlands on Friday, January 11, 2008 with tee-time set at 8:00 a. m.  For more information, interested individuals are encouraged to contact Todd Weber at 233-2337, ext. 171, or 278-1963 or Marcus Bruno at 962-9049.  Sponsorship of a team is $400.00.

Later that day, Friday, January 11, a Celebrity Softball Game has been tentatively set to be played from 6 – 9 p. m. Lamson Field, home of the Lady Cajuns Softball team.  Former and current Major Leaguers will be on hand, as well as members of the Lafayette Consolidated Government, the Lafayette Parish School Board, representatives from other governmental agencies, members of the media and former UL baseball players.
For information pertaining to the banquet to be held Thursday, January 10 at 7:00 p. m. at the Hilton Lafayette & Towers, contact Lydia Bergeron or Danielle Carmouche at 233-1327.