Baconton's annual 'Old Timer's' game set for today

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

BACONTON -- The lights will be going up for Baconton Charter's baseball team in a couple of weeks, thanks to arguably one of the best ideas anyone has ever had to raise money for a baseball program.

It's time again for Baconton's biggest annual event -- the Third Annual Old Timer's Baseball Game, which is now being called Old Timer's Day.

And get there early.

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes breakfast will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Vision Covenant Fellowship Church on Railroad Street, where former big leaguers Bernie Carbo and Brian Jordan will be the guest speakers at 9 a.m.

Baconton head baseball coach Bubber Birdsong has been holding the event -- which includes breakfast, autographs (10 a.m.), celebrity batting practice (11 a.m.) and the game (1 p.m.) -- for three years, and has raised enough money to put lights on Blazer Field.

"People can come out, have breakfast, get autographs, have their pictures taken with the players,'' Birdsong said. "It's a great day.''

It will be a big day, rain or shine, because even if it does rain Birdsong said the breakfast and autograph sessions would be held, and he hopes there will at least some celebrity batting practice.

Birdsong has invited a long list of former big leaguers, but he hasn't had confirmation from everyone on his list. Still, it will be an impressive lineup headed by Carbo and Jordan, a star with both the Braves and Falcons who is now a TV analyst with Atlanta.

Birdsong said he was hoping to showcase World Series players from the past five decades. He has Gordon Richardson, who pitched for the 1964 World Series champion Cardinals to represent the 1960s, and he has Carbo, who hit an unforgettable three-run homer in Game 6 for the Reds in the 1975 Series, to represent the 1970s. Birdsong has invited but not heard back from Albany native Ray Knight, the MVP of the 1986 Series for the Mets, who would represent the 1980s. Birdsong has also invited, but hasn't heard back from Mike Mordecai, who played for the Braves World Series teams in the 1990s, and played for Florida's 2003 World Series champs.

Still, the idea is a great one. Fans who come out will get a chance to mingle with former big leaguers, such as Larry Parrish, who hit more than 200 big league homers, Phil Clark, who played for the Cardinals in the late 1950s and early '60s, and Mackey Sasser, a well-known catcher with the Mets as well as local sports celebrities Bill Stanfill, Hal Breeden, Kyle Keen, Eddie Dixon and Edward Taylor. Birdsong also is inviting all former high school, legion and college and pro players for the event.