Apparently, the first wives gala involved dancing.

 

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In 1990, two young wives of two budding superstar Astros players put together a modest fundraiser titled “An Evening of Stars” and hand-picked the organization to where the funds would be donated.

The gala was the first of its kind in the Astros organization, and it’s unlikely Patty Biggio and Nancy Caminiti could have imagined that a night of dinner and dancing for approximately 400 guests would snowball into the most lucrative single fundraising event the Astros host in every calendar year.

At some point in the early to mid-1990s, “An Evening of Stars” turned into “Black Ties and Baseball Caps.” Although the title changed, the recipient of the proceeds has remained the same. The Houston Area Women’s Center — a safe haven for women and children affected by domestic and sexual violence — started as a modest eight-bed facility in 1977 and has grown to a 125-bed shelter, the largest in the country for woman and child survivors of domestic and sexual assault. The Astros Wives have played a part in that; two decades worth of galas have raised over $3 million for the HAWC.

This year’s soiree will be held on Aug. 6 on the field at Minute Maid Park and will be co-chaired by Pamela Michaels and Michelle Quintero. Tickets to the gala begin at $400, and as an added benefit, All-Star, Diamond, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger tables have the opportunity to select a player and his wife or guest to be seated at their table. Player requests are granted first by level of sponsorship and in the order received.

For more information or to purchase tickets call 713-781-0053.

As I was looking through pictures from past events in preparation to blog about this year’s milestone gala — the big 2-0 — I couldn’t help but notice the ones in the early years involved not only dinner and schmoozing with baseball players, but also dancing, and, during the Casey Candaele years, break dancing. These days, the gala is a bit more subdued, but still a lot of fun. And the silent and live auction items have undoubtedly improved.

Judging from the picture at the top of this blog, it’s clear Craig and Patty Biggio felt comfortable on the dance floor. They’re not the only ones…

This is the most normal pose I found of Candaele, circa 1990.

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Those who know Casey, however, would probably say this one is the more normal of the two.

 

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Many people danced that night, but from what I can tell from the pictures, Casey was the only one who took it to the floor, literally.

Hey, look, it’s Jim Deshaies…with hair!

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Fast foward 10 years…the team in 2000 wasn’t very good, but there were a lot of fan favorites on the club. Left to right: Jose Lima Time, Scott Elarton, Jeff Bagwell, Billy Wagner, Jay Powell and Lance Berkman (pre-Puma.)

 

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2003: Bagwell, Milo Hamilton, Berkman.

 

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While perusing the 1990 scrap book I found this letter written by Ellen Cohen, who had just taken over as President and CEO of the HAWC. I was struck by Cohen’s description of exactly how the funds from the gala were spent, and how much Cohen was hoping the wives would again pick the HAWC as their charity of choice (obviously, they did).

(Point of interest: Cohen left the HAWC in 2006 when she was elected to the Texas House of Representatives from Houston District 134.)

 

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__________________

Friendly reminder that the Kids Free All Summer will continue through Aug. 23. A friend of mine tried it out couple of weeks ago — he and his wife each bought a $20 ticket and their four kids got in for free. That six people for 40 bucks. Check it out…

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5 Comments

Hope Casey Candaele at least gets a chance to defend himself, yeesh, what did he ever do to you?!?! Great old pics, wish I had your job –

So I noticed in the photo gallery for last night (7-22) is a little inaccurate. The caption for Phillip’s photo of Pudge failing to tag Ludwick does not mention that Ludwick was safe despite never touching the plate. Well, the Fox Sports Midwest cameras/replays never showed he did. Pudge would have had a second chance to grab the ball and tag Ludwick if the umpire didn’t give the safe call so early.

I just thought our Director of Digital Media should know.

Good ‘ol Casey Candaele. What I remember most about him was that his mother played in the Women’s League, which inspired one of my favorite movies “A League of Their Own.” I recently heard he did the Mike Redmond “naked batting practice” but I’m not sure if that’s true. Then I came across this article about CC and it states that you wrote it back in 2001 but pardon me if it wasn’t (you can’t believe everything you read these days.) http://www.addictsports.com/baseball/archive/index.php/t-3360.html

Way to go Astros on sweeping the Cards. Amazing! Good times in Astro World.

http://stonebutch99.mlblogs.com

I remember attending this gala like it was only yesterday. It was such a blast and Craig and Jeff’s wives were so helpful in putting together a great fundraiser for HAWC now a days I look to put together fundraisers for the old Astro Dome crew after the baseball season and I have done well with my mlb picks for the year so that I can put together an event that really is worthwhile for the players and their wives to attend that will raise a substantial amount of money for a good cause.

Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say superb blog!

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