Friends of Baseball raises funds for kids throughout Portland

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 9:51 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Enhancing children’s lives through baseball’s power to teach. On Thursday night, the Friends of Baseball fundraiser helped benefit the nonprofit’s after-school and summer programs to support kids in and around the Rose City.

The Portland-based nonprofit is focused on getting more kids the opportunity to learn and love the games of baseball and softball as a tool to mentor.

“We have a vested interest in seeing kids, particularly from the urban core play this game and so it was only fitting that we would forge a relationship with friends of baseball who have a similar mission of creating opportunities for kids to play this game,” says Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City. “When urban kids walk into the negro league baseball museum, they see people who look just like them who played this game as well as anyone ever played this game”

Kendrick was a special guest of honor at the Redd on Salmon.

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“Identifying passion, because at the crux of the story of the Negro Leagues, that is what it was all about,” Kendrick says. “These athletes love the game of baseball so much that they were willing to endure whatever social adversity confronted them as they traveled the highways and byways of the country just to play baseball.”

It wouldn’t be a Friends of Baseball swing for the fences gala with a game of catch -- Washougal’s John Scukanec just successfully completed 365 days of having a catch. Thursday was day 366 with Bob to turn the calendar to another year, this after capping off season one on Wednesday in Seattle, at the home of the Mariners, on the field with John’s favorite all-time player, the kid, Ken Griffey Jr.

“It took me most of the day to kind of come to grips with what would happen,” Scukanec says. “If I could write the Hollywood ending it would be me and Ken Griffey Jr. at Safeco Field, Impossible, right? In sports, miracles happen.”