GLADWIN – Despite the harsh weather, baseball fans and supporters of the Gladwin American Legion Baseball Post 171 came out in droves on Saturday, Feb. 2 for the Winter Party for “The Boys of Summer”. Over 285 guests attended the fundraiser, packing the Knights of Columbus Hall. Guest speakers for the event were Thom Pepe, the Senior Director of Community Impact and Engagement for the Great Lake Loons, and Tom Matchick, former Detroit Tiger and MLB Infielder from 1967-1972.

Pepe discussed with the crowd the importance of the lessons you can learn from baseball, including always working your hardest and being on time, among others. At the end of his speech he handed out Loons tickets to members of the crowd who could answer questions about his speech. 

Matchick shared stories of the 1968 Tigers World Series Championship team. Of particular interest were the antics the team got up to in their spare time. “That team was one of a kind, they’re all nuts,” Matchick said. After the speeches, Matchick was available for autographs and photos with the crowd. 

Throughout the evening a silent auction was held with items from The Detroit Tigers, Red Wings, Pistons, and Lions, as well as University of Michigan, Michigan State, Central Michigan, Alma College, and many others. Several local businesses contributed items to the silent auction, various raffles and auctions. In total there were $22,000 in prizes. 

Winners of the Grand Prize raffles were Matt Grundas of Saginaw who won an Andersen Charter Fishing Trip on Lake Michigan, Dick Govitz of Beaverton who won two 2019 Season Football Tickets for all seven University of Michigan home games, Tony Wetmore of Gladwin who won a 55” 4K LED UHD Smart TV, Robin Ignatowski of Sault Ste, Marie won a Savage Arms 30-06 Rifle with 3-9 Power Bushnell Scope. 

The American Legion Baseball Program allows high school students to work on their athletic skills through the summer by continuing to play on a competitive travel team.