Former major league pitchers Jim Coates, left, and Jim Perry pose for a photograph at the N.C. Baseball Museum Celebrity Golf Tournament on May 25, 2016, at Wedgewood Public Golf Course. Perry, the 1970 American League Cy Young Award winner, will return for the 2017 Celebrity Golf tourney, set for Wednesday at Wedgewood.
Paul Durham | Times
From staff reports
The defense has a few holes in it but there’s plenty of pitching in the lineup for the North Carolina Baseball Museum’s 15th annual Celebrity Golf Tournament, set for Wednesday, May 17, at Wedgewood Public Golf Course.
Among the 10 former major leaguers who have committed to play in the event are 1970 American League Cy Young Award winner Jim Perry and 1978 American League Comeback Player of the Year and Cy Young runner-up Mike Caldwell. Perry, a Williamston native, pitched 17 seasons in the big leagues for four teams (including two stints with the Cleveland Indians), while Caldwell, a former star at Tarboro High and North Carolina State University, played for four teams over his 14-year career. He won two games in the 1982 World Series for the Milwaukee Brewers.
The other former pitcher who will be present Wednesday is Albemarle native Monty Montgomery, who played two seasons for the Kansas City Royals.
The outfield is set with former Wilson Tobs great Fred Valentine, who played seven years in the majors with the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Senators; Tommy Smith, another Albemarle native who played four years in the big leagues with the Indians and one with the Seattle Mariners in their inaugural season in 1977, and Snow Camp native Floyd Wicker, who played parts of four major league seasons after a standout career at East Carolina.
Pikeville native Tim Talton, who played two seasons with the Kansas City Athletics in the mid-1960s, is the only catcher on the guest list but there are three infielders, including Johnny Grubb, who will make his NCBM Celebrity Golf debut. Grubb, who played 16 seasons total with the San Diego Padres, Indians, Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers, was mostly an outfielder and/or designated hitter but spent some time at first base. Billy Harris, who was born in Hamlet, was a second baseman with the Indians and Royals in the late ‘60s and Charlotte native John Donaldson, who played six seasons as a middle infielder with the Kansas City and Oakland Athletics.
Besides Grubb, two former NFL players will be playing in the tournament for the first time — Jim Cheyunski and Tom Myers. Cheyunski was a linebacker out of Syracuse University who played for the Boston Patriots, Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Colts in three seasons in the early ‘70s. Myers was a quarterback from Northwestern University who played for the Detroit Lions in 1965 and 1966. His former Lions teammate Milt Plum, who has been a staple at recent NCBM Celebrity Golf tournaments, recruited Myers to appear this year.
An all-star lineup of former Atlantic Coast Conference point guards is set to appear with North Carolina All-American Phil Ford; Eddie Biedenbach, who played at N.C. State and later was a Wolfpack assistant coach and head coach at UNC Asheville, and Duke’s Steve Vacendak, who was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame last week.
Several other NCSHOF members, besides Perry, Caldwell and Ford, who will be present are recently retired Duke sports broadcaster Bob Harris, former N.C. State baseball star Francis Combs, former Greene Central baseball coach and Rock Ridge native James R. “Rabbit” Fulghum and former Fike football coach Henry Trevathan. NCSHOF executives Don Fish and Bobby Guthrie, the former UNC Wilmington head coach, have also committed to appear.
The guest list also includes former ECU football player, former North Carolina Amateur Golf champion Bill Boles, former Fike football head coach Gus Andrews, Catawba College golf coach and member of N.C. State’s 1965 ACC-champion basketball team Sam Gealy, former East Carolina pitching standout Earl Boykin, former N.C. State baseball player Alex Cheek, former Wilson high school coach and athletic director Gilbert Ferrell, Wilson Tobs general manager Mike Bell, former Fike golf coach Jim Boykin Jr. and current Barton College golf coach Ashley Leonard.
The event, which will have 27 teams, will start at noon with a catered meal by Parkers Barbecue, followed by a shotgun start at approximately 1 p.m. The public is invited to attend and meet the celebrities prior to the golf tournament.