Pelicans line up 41 homers in veterans baseball card set

By Steve Palisin


This photo shows the special jerseys that Myrtle Beach Pelicans players will wear Saturday for the team’s third annual “Military Appreciation Night,” for which the first 1,000 fans through the gates at TicketReturn.com Field will receive a 41-count Military Card Set, a baseball card series picturing local veterans. A raffle also is planned for the game-worn jerseys for the honorees to take home.
This photo shows the special jerseys that Myrtle Beach Pelicans players will wear Saturday for the team’s third annual “Military Appreciation Night,” for which the first 1,000 fans through the gates at TicketReturn.com Field will receive a 41-count Military Card Set, a baseball card series picturing local veterans. A raffle also is planned for the game-worn jerseys for the honorees to take home. Courtesy photo

Forty-one extra home runs on Saturday night will score right in 1,000 fans’ hands.

Third annual “Military Appreciation Night” by the 2015 Carolina League champion Myrtle Beach Pelicans will include, besides postgame fireworks, a 41-count Military Card Set Giveaway, each picturing a local veteran, for the first 1,000 fans through the gates at TicketReturn.com Field.

The game, at 7:05 p.m. will pit the Pelicans, in their second year as the Chicago Cubs’ Class A-Advanced affiliate, against the Lynchburg Hillcats, a Cleveland Indians farm club from Virginia.

Kristin Call and Jen Borowski, the team’s senior directors of marketing and community development, respectively, spoke about the honors that go into these military baseball cards, for those pictured and those will take a set home.

Call said the card sets numbered 25 in 2014 and 30 in 2015. She said rounding this collection up spans the whole offseason, with “a lot of referrals” that crack the bat in the process to salute men and women who are naturally, “very humble.”

Borowski said although such honorees might not view to their service as “anything extraordinary,” they merit honor “every single day” besides this “extra day” every year o the the Pelicans’ calendar.

She said front office crews “do some scouting of our own,” and “we rely on local senior centers” to help make contact with prospects for the cards.

Noting the age, and sadly, the growing scarcity, of surviving World War II-era veterans, Borowski smiled at seeing more women and minorities in each year’s card set, and this year, with some husband-and-wife pairs pictured.

Reading how each honoree on the cars has served could consume “a whole afternoon,” Borowski said, amazed at the global circuit, with “all the places that our military goes, places you might not ever think about.”

With every home game, Call said a moment also is dedicated to recognize people in, or who have served with, the armed forces. She remembered a game last week when one man interviewed by the on-field host was asked for his duration and sites of service.

“He rattled off 6-7 different places,” Call said, “and he might have left some out.”

Diversity of duties deserves spotlight

Borowski said such recognition nightly and in the annual baseball card sets brings up a wealth of extra aspects to appreciate from the various areas, as in departments, in which people serve, not only on “the front lines,” but in so many other depths.

“We have everyone from nursing staff to a boiler technician,” she said. “You learn not only about these people, but a lot of military ins and outs.”

Call said the Pelicans’ applause for the military each season has grown from past wars to include everyone, including individuals “who are just out on leave from serving.”

A fellow staff member “getting ready to re-enlist,” Call said, and a former intern whom Borowski just completed Air Force basic training, only reminds them how their hearts and gratitude have only grown by working with such teammates in the office.

Embrace Hospice, with a site in Conway, and with many veterans among its staff, provided “a big reason why we started this whole effort two years ago,” Call said, and local veterans service organizations also support the efforts.

Charlene Hope, Embrace Hospice’s local veterans coordinator, with duties that include coordinating nights out all season for honorees to see a game from a skybox at the Pelicans’ stadium, praised this “partnership with the Pelicans,” generating new memories for honorees.

An Army lieutenant colonel who retired in 2002 after putting in 27 years, Hope also was pictured on the Pelicans’ initial veterans baseball card set, in 2014. The native New Englander and longtime Boston Red Sox fan said her family kept a secret from her as her military background was gathered for the Pelicans cards. She learned about the honor when a whole set of the cards was shown to her during a radio interview.

As a member of the set “with all these World War II veterans,” Hope called the timing “the most humbling thing ever,” along with being the first woman in the cards.

“Since then, we’ve had a lot of cards with women,” she said, “so that made it so very special.”

She also said her husband, David Hope, who served in the Army from 1961-65, with time in Panama and who helped train soldiers for guerrilla warfare in that Vietnam War era, will be in the 2016 set of cards.

Borowski said through the ceremonial first pitch thrown by a veteran at each game, she loves seeing Pelicans players interact with these special guests because the boys of summer “take notice more” of the honorees, whose service helped paved the way for our nation’s freedoms, including playing this staple of a pastime.

Fans in attendance on Saturday night also will see the Pelicans sport a specially jersey with red, white and blue on the sleeves, and a camouflage bodice showing silhouettes of a line of personnel on guard.

Borowski said game-worn jerseys will be raffled off for military personnel and veterans and to take home.

Among a “passionate staff” among the Pelicans, and helping increase awareness about the military, Special Olympics and other community causes, Call concluded, “All of these are near and dear to us.”

Contact STEVE PALISIN at 843-444-1764.

If you go

WHAT: Third annual “Military Appreciation Night” and 41-count Military Card Set Giveaway (for first 1,000 fans through gates), with postgame fireworks.

WHO: Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the 2015 Carolina League Mills Cup champions, in second year as Class A-Advanced affiliate of Chicago Cubs

PLAYING: Lynchburg Hillcats, a Cleveland Indians farm club from Virginia

WHEN: 7:05 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark, 1251 21st Ave. N., Myrtle Beach (Enter parking lot from Robert Grissom Parkway).

HOW MUCH: Advance: $9, $11 or $13 – and $2 more on game day.

DISCOUNTS: Of $3, with ID at box office, for –

▪ Military for all games, in all sections.

▪ Residents of Horry and Georgetown counties – “Locals Appreciation” – on upper-deck reserved seats, on Saturdays.

OTHER GAMES ON THIS HOMESTAND: Against Lynchburg – 7:05 p.m. Friday and Monday, and 5:05 p.m. Sunday.

INFORMATION: 843-918-6000, 877-918-8499 (TIXX) or www.myrtlebeachpelicans.com.

‘Military Appreciation Days’

Eighth annual “Miltary Appreciation Days” continues across Grand Strand through May 31. More details at 843-918-1014 or www.militaryappreciationdays.com:

▪ Veterans’ benefits seminar, with Stephen Stevens, veterans outreach and benefits coordinator of the Eastern Carolina Homelessness Organization, 2-4 p.m. May 26 at Myrtle Beach’s Chapin Memorial Library, 400 14th Ave. N., at Kings Highway. Free. Reservations encouraged at 843-918-1295, or email reference@chapinlibrary.org.

▪ Memorial Day weekend parade, 10:30 a.m. May 28 – from Horry-Georgetown Technical College Grand Strand Campus in Myrtle Beach – left on Pampas Drive, left on Howard Avenue, left ton Farrow Parkway,going by Grand Park and The Market Common, and left on Forbus Court – with Noah Galloway, U.S. Army veteran and a third-place finisher with Sharna Burgess on ABC-TV’s “Dancing with the Stars” in spring 2015, as grand marshal.

▪ Family Picnic, noon-2 p.m. May 28 in Myrtle Beach’s Grand Park, across from The Market Common, with meet-and-greet with Galloway and concert by Andrew Thielen Big Band, and free meals for military personnel, veterans, and their families, and “Veterans Beard & ’Stache Beach Bash” contest.

▪ “Blood and Sweat Fitness Challenge,” in a Marine Corps style with eight male and female athletes each – and benefiting Special Operations Wounded Warriors – by Gunny’s Boot Camp in Myrtle Beach, 2-9 p.m. May 29 at RH Acres (formerly known as The Rat Hole – 843-213-2688 or therhacres.com), 3833 Socastee Blvd., Socastee, near entrance to Socastee Automotive. 843-209-2315 or www.gunnysbootcamp.com.

▪ Memorial Day Veterans March with Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, 9 a.m. May 30, south on Myrtle Beach’s Ocean Boulevard between 16th and Ninth avenues North, with brief ceremony at former Pavilion site.

▪ Memorial Day ceremony, with Grand Strand Patriotic Alliance, 11 a.m. May 30 at Myrtle Beach Convention Center Plaza, on Oak Street at 21st Avenue North.

▪ Sixth annual “Myrtle Beach Memorial Day Tribute,” 2 p.m. Monday, including “Patriot Dream: The Story of the Pilgrims” film, at Grand 14 Cinema, at The Market Common. Free.

▪ Wear biker gear or mention “biker discount” through May 31 at any of five Ripley’s attractions in Myrtle Beach – Aquarium, on 29th Avenue North, in Broadway at the Beach; and Odditorium, Haunted Adventure, Marvelous Mirror Maze, and 5D Moving Theater, 901-915 N. Ocean Blvd. – and generate a $2 donation to Combat Veteran’s Motorcycle Association Chapter 34-3 (www.cvma34-3.com). 843-448-2331 or www.ripleys.com/myrtlebeach.

▪ At Legends in Concert, 925 Hollywood Drive, Myrtle Beach, at U.S. 17 Bypass and 29th Avenue North, across from Broadway at the Beach: Free ticket for U.S. military and veterans with purchase of one full price, regular adult ticket, for shows 8 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays through May 31, with ID and pickup at box office, with code “PMI.” Tribute lineup: Elvis Presley, the Blues Brothers, Brooks & Dunn, Adele, and Bruno Mars. 843-238-7827, 800-960-7469 or www.legendsinconcert.com/myrtle-beach.