Mid-day news and notes: Jackie Robinson Day, Tommy Bahama Golf Tournament, Milo CD

The Astros have often been playing on the road on the April 15 anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier, but this year, the team will be home for the celebration.

The Astros plan to host several activities honoring Robinson’s legacy in addition to all Major League players, coaches, managers and umpires wearing Robinson’s uniform No. 42.

During the day, the Astros will visit four schools as part of the team’s Breaking Barriers essay program, presented by Whataburger.  “Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life” is a national Major League Baseball education program developed in conjunction with Scholastic, Inc., that teaches students the values that Jackie Robinson exhibited in life.

Area schools were invited to participate in the Houston Astros Breaking Barriers program by submitting essays written by students in fourth through eighth grades that discussed personal stories of overcoming barriers.

The Astros received 686 essays from 34 schools, and from all entries, four winning essays were selected as the Houston area winners. These four students will receive a special Astros player visit to their school, and the school receives 500 tickets to the April 15 game, along with 500 Whataburger coupons.

During the Astros Jackie Robinson Day pregame ceremonies, the four essay winners, their teachers and principals will be recognized on the field.

Other pregame ceremonies will include youth from Houston RBI, Grand Slam for Youth Baseball, the Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy along with members of the Houston RBI 2010 Senior Boys World Series Championship team ringing the field further emphasizing Major League Baseball and the Astros’ efforts to teach the game of baseball to kids in minority and underserved communities.

Nine local youth ballplayers from Houston RBI, Grand Slam for Youth Baseball, the Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy and the Houston RBI 2010 Senior Boys World Series Championship will take the field with Astros players during the national anthem and will wear t-shirts specially designed to represent one of Jackie’s nine values taught in the MLB Breaking Barriers program. Former Jackie Robinson Foundation scholars residing in the Houston area will throw ceremonial pitches.


* The sixth annual Tommy Bahama Island Cowboy Classic will be held at The Woodlands Country Club on April 25, an off day for the Astros.

Because the event is held during the season, on a scheduled day off, there is usually a pretty good turnout of current players and coaches. This year’s event will benefit the Astros in Action Foundation, supporting Montgomery County Special Olympics. Registration begins at 10 a.m. For more information, click here.

Bud Norris at last year's Tommy Bahama Golf Tournament


* One more community note worth noting: FanFest activities over the weekend resulted in raising $35,000 for the Astros in Action Foundation and the Urban Youth Academy.

“Baseball Voices,” the ongoing series of audio tributes to baseball’s greatest announcers, are now available digitally. The nine-release collection, which is produced and narrated by Chicago Cubs radio broadcaster Pat Hughes, are available on iTunes and Amazon.

The series highlights the glorious careers of legendary broadcasters, including our very own Milo Hamilton. Other announcers who are also featured are Harry Caray, Red Barber, Jack Buck, Bob Uecker, Harry Kalas, Marty Brennaman, Dave Niehaus and Bob Prince. All have been honored at the National Baseball Hall of Fame with the Ford C. Frick Award.

Hamilton’s commemorative CD highlights some of his most famous calls and memorable moments. From his broadcast beginnings to his Hall of Fame induction, fans can relive Hamilton’s classic calls and greatest stories throughout the 50-minute compilation.

“These are the legends of baseball broadcasting,” said Hughes, who has been the radio play-by-play voice of the Cubs since 1996. “Their voices are forever engrained in the minds of millions of fans across the nation and now, with the mass-release of this series, they are
instantly available for nostalgic remembrances and reminders of what made them great.”

All of the CD releases are also available at http://www.baseballvoices.com and many of the home ballparks of the announcers. They are also expected to be available at additional retail outlets soon. Banshee Music, of Milwaukee, WI, is serving as distribution partner.

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