Retired Dodgers raising money for Bell High School

DOWNEY - Retired Los Angeles Dodgers Kenny Landreaux, Rudy Law, Bobby Castillo and Jimmy Campanis will headline a charity golf tournament Aug. 19 at the Rio Hondo Golf Club in Downey to benefit the athletic programs at Bell High School.Budget cuts have restricted the school's ability to purchase sporting equipment, putting the athletic programs at risk. "We are approaching a critical point in time where we may not have enough money to adequately fund all of our teams and supply our athletes with equipment they need to play their sports," said Bell High School principal Frank Vasquez. "The choices we face for the 2011-12 fiscal year are not good." Currently, more than 700 students participate in 42 different teams at the school. Bell High School administrators say a large portion of the athletes are "at-risk" kids that live in a lower economic community. Playing competitive sports not only serves as a motivation and learning outlet, it also provides a haven from the streets, they said. In past years, local businesses could be coutned on to help offset any reductions in funding, but the area has been severely impacted by the economy. School officials also noted that the community is still recovering from the fallout associated with the financial scandal at City Hall. The Los Angeles Dodgers committed retired players to the event. "We are very grateful that the Dodgers have come on board and provided us with players from their past teams," said Doug Swaim, a member of the tournament committee that is sponsoring the event. "The organization has always displayed a strong concern for kids in the local area." Landreaux, a native of Los Angeles, was recognized throughout his career as one of the best hitters in baseball. In 1980, he had a 31-game hitting streak that led to his selection to the American League all-star team. As a member of the Dodgers, he helped lead the team to three division championships, one National League pennant and a World Series championship against the New York Yankees in 1981. Throughout the seven seasons he played in the major leagues, Rudy Law was one of the most feared base stealers in the game. During his rookie year with the Dodgers in 1980, he stole a then-team record 40 bases. Law was traded to the Chicago White Sox in 1982 and led the club in hitting that year with a .318 average. The next season, he stole a career best 77 bases as the White Sox captured the American League division championship. Bobby Castillo was a three-time all-city pitcher for Lincoln High School before his playing days with the Dodgers. He joined the organization in 1977 and spent most of his six seasons with the team as a relief pitcher. His best season in Los Angeles was in 1980 when he appeared in 61 games and compiled an 8-6 record with a 2.76 ERA. Castillo will always occupy a spot in Dodger baseball lore for being the pitcher who taught Fernando Valenzuela how to throw the screwball. Jimmy Campanis, son of former Dodgers general manager Al Campanis, was born to wear the blue and white uniform. In 1966, he made his debut with Los Angeles and earned a reputation as a solid defensive catcher during his six seasons in the major leagues. Campanis has the distinction of catching Sandy Koufax's final victory at Dodger Stadium in an 11-1 victory over the Phillies. Event coordinator Allen Brian said the players understand the importance of sports in a young person's life. "The guys were all great players in high school and they know first hand the value you receive from competing on a team at that level," he said. Vasquez, the principal, said the fundraiser is the right prescription for both the school and city. "I am so grateful and proud...of their willingness to come back and assist the school and the community," said Vasquez. "For the past several months, the only news emanating from Bell has been negative information pertaining to the scandal. It is so refreshing for everyone to be a part of something that is so positive that will serve to enhance our sense of both school and civic pride." All four players will participate in the shotgun-format tournament and will be available for photos and autographs prior to the event. For tournament and sponsorship information, call (866) 513-GOLF.

********** Published: July 28, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 15