Major League Baseball alumni Jack Heidemann, from left, Ethan Blackaby, Cisco Carlos, Lou Klimchock
and Leon "Super B" Brown, shown Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 in Scottsdale.
[Tim Hacker/ Tribune]
Pictured left to right: Phil Seibel, former Boston Red Sox pitcher, Bobby Knoop, scout/special assistant with the Colorado Rockies, Del Unser, Major League scout with the Philadelphia Phillies, Lou Klimchock, President of Arizona Major League Alumni Association, Brian McNichol, former Chicago Cubs pitcher, Bob Zick, former Chicago Cubs pitcher, Laurel Prieb, Vice President of Major League Baseball's Western Operations Ofice and Special Projects in Phoenix, Jim Umbarger, former Texas Rangers pitcher, Jason Totman, former San Diego Padres infielder and Jim Marshall, Pacific Rim scout for Arizona Diamondbacks and former manager of Chicago Cubs and Oakland A's. (Mike Sakal/Tribune)
Former major league baseball player and executive director of Arizona Major League Alumni Lou Klimchock looks out over Hohokam Park in Mesa, Ariz., Friday, Feb. 15, 2008.
The alumni organization, which makes contributions to Arizona youth baseball programs and former players in need of financial assistance, boasts more than 400 members, including more than 100 former Major League baseball players who live in the East Valley.
Former Cleveland Indians infielder Lou Klimchock outside Cleveland Municipal Stadium in 1969 during a time when fans could get closer to their favorite players.
Klimchock, 72, of Tempe, has served as president of the Arizona Chapter of the Major League Alumni Association for 15 years. (Photo courtesy of Suzi Adamik)
, Sam McDowell
, Sam McDowell
Former Cleveland Indians infielder Lou Klimchock
and pitcher "Sudden" Sam McDowell at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in August, 1969.
For the last 15 years, Tempe resident Lou Klimchock
, a former infielder in the 1960s has been the glue to galvanize the Valley's community of former baseball players as the president of the association's president.
also has seen the number of current players living in the Grand Canyon State grow as the nonprofit organization is seeking to acquire more sponsorships for the nonprofit organization so it can continue to thrive in the future.
"It's my passion," said Klimchock
, now 72.
"We're a pretty well kept secret in the state, and despite hard economic times, we're still able to do the things and help others out."
As an 18-year-old rookie with the Kansas City Athletics in 1958, Klimchock
made the then-minimum league salary of $6,000; in his
last year in 1970, he
He later worked in marketing for the Adolph Coors Co. and Coca-Cola, picking up skills he said has helped him make the alumni association more viable with the help of a volunteer board of directors.
Klimchock, who played second and third base for the Athletics, Washington Senators, Milwaukee Braves, New York Mets and Cleveland Indians, jokingly said that if the Celebration of Baseball game is rained out again this year - it would be the third year in a row - that maybe someone is trying to tell them something.
"If we're rained out this year, the guy upstairs is telling us we're too old to do this," Klimchock
has said that one of the alumni goals is to raise more money for scholarships to send nationally-ranked high school players from Arizona to the annual Wood Bat Tournament in Florida in October, where they can showcase their skills before pro and college scouts.
(Klimchock) has done so much in making sure the needs of the players' needs are met and bonding them together."
IMAGE: Lou Klimchock
IMAGE: Lou Klimchock
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Posted in Mesa, Tempe, Sports, Apache junction, Chandler, Gilbert, Queen creek, Local on Friday, February 24, 2012 8:03 am.
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