Skip to Content

Sports stars to autograph baseballs at Binghamton General Sept. 2


Legendary athletes Meadowlark Lemon, Ferguson Jenkins and Al Downing will be at UHS Binghamton General on Wednesday, Sept. 2, to autograph baseballs.

They will be on site from about 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Patients, visitors and staff are welcome to meet the athletes in the Main Lobby on Mitchell Avenue, next to the Coffee and Gift Shop.

Baseballs will be provided for autographs.

Mr. Lemon, renowned as the “Clown Prince” of basketball’s Harlem Globetrotters, will join Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Downing, two former Major League baseball stars, at the appearance, just a day before they play in the 2015 Jim “Mudcat” Grant All-Star Golf Tournament, presented locally by Security Mutual.

The three sports stars who will be at UHS Binghamton General have had exciting careers.

After playing 16,000 games for the Globetrotters, Mr. Lemon went on to star with the Bucketeers, Shooting Stars and Meadowlark Lemon's Harlem All-Stars.

Mr. Jenkins is a Canadian former professional baseball player. He pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox, and played basketball off-season for the Globetrotters. In 1991, he became the first Canadian to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Mr. Downing is a former Major League pitcher, playing for the New York Yankees, Oakland A's, Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers. He was an All-Star in 1967 and the National League's Comeback Player of the Year in 1971. He served as a color analyst on Dodgers cable TV broadcasts from 1980 to 1987 and on Dodgers radio in 2005.

This past June, Binghamton Mayor Richard C. David and Security Mutual Life Chairman, President and CEO Bruce W. Boyea welcomed Mr. Grant back to Greater Binghamton for a news conference announcing the 2015 tournament.

Now in its 14th year, the golf outing is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 3, at The Links at Hiawatha Landing.

“When Bruce and I first met more than 14 years ago and discussed ways we could benefit children and families in Greater Binghamton, we just had no idea how big this tournament would become,” Mr. Grant told members of the news media.

Continuing, he noted: “The celebrities love coming to Binghamton, and each year we have more who want to join in."

The tournament benefits four well-known local charities: Broome County Urban League, Boys and Girls Clubs of Binghamton, Catholic Charities of Broome County and Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW).

The retired athletes are members of the “Black Aces,” a group founded by Mr. Grant to call attention to the achievements of black pitchers in Major League Baseball.

The group now includes a host of retired athletes, black and white, not just baseball pitchers.

For the past several years, members of the group have visited UHS facilities prior to the golf tournament, talking with patients, visitors and staff, and graciously signing baseballs.

On his website, Mr. Grant pays tribute to the 15 black pitchers who have won 20 games in a season.

The original Black Aces baseball stars are: Vida Blue, Al Downing, Bob Gibson, Dwight Gooden, Mr. Grant, Mr. Jenkins, Sad Sam Jones, Don Newcombe, Mike Norris, David Price, J. R. Richard, C.C. Sabathia, Dave Stewart, Dontrelle Willis and Earl Wilson.

In 2007, President Bush honored Mr. Grant and three of his fellow Aces at a White House ceremony.