Charlie Hayes, famous for his catch that clinched the New York Yankees’ 1996 World Series championship, will be on hand for a meet and greet Saturday as part of the BH-BL Junior Baseball Summer Slam Tournament at Indian Meadows Park in Glenville.
Hayes is scheduled to appear from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and will speak and answer a few questions from members of the 9-and-under teams participating before sign autographs. The public is invited.
A 14-year Major League player, Hayes was playing third base when he caught Mark Lemke’s pop-up in foul territory to end Game 6 of the 1996 World Series, when the Yankees captured their first title since 1978.
“He runs a baseball camp and any spare time he has he gives back to youth organizations,” tournament director and BH-BL coach Gregg Kelly said of Hayes, who batted. 262 with 144 home runs and 740 RBIs while playing for seven Major League teams from 1988-2001. “He is a very humble guy. We thought it was a great fit for us.”
Hayes’ appearance will be part of an expanded tournament that will include 10 teams, with representatives from Syracuse and Rockland County. In its inaugural year in 2019 six Capital Region teams took part. The event was not held last summer due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s our summer finale, and it’s something we’re looking to grow,” Kelly said. “We kept it local in our first year, and we have a bit of a broader outreach for this year.”
Aside from host BH-BL, other Capital Region teams participating Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be Colonie, Greene County, East Greenbush, Schenectady, Schuylerville, South Troy and Twin Town. The teams will be divided into the Maroon and Spartan divisions and play three games each, and on Sunday the top two teams in each division will play semifinal games before the 3 p.m. title game.
Games will be spread across three different fields.
“Our goal is to create a great environment for the kids to play in. We want them to feel like superstars,” Kelly said. “We want it to be memorable and fun.”
Concessions will be available, and games for kids will be offered.
“It’s a family event,” Kelly said.
On Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, Hayes will be signing autographs at James Chevrolet in Johnstown.
Aside from the Yankees, Hayes played for the San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, Colorado Rockies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros.
Hayes’ son, Ke’Bryan Hayes, is a third baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates and is in contention for National League Rookie of the Year.
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