Playing With The Big Leagues

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Aspiring baseball players entering grades three through 12 next school year will soon have the opportunity to learn from four former Major Leaguers -- Ron Davis, Bob Lacey, Ozzie Virgil and Lou Klimchock.

The chance occurs during baseball fundamentals clinics, held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., June 28 and 29, on the Rumsey II baseball field.

Davis' pitching career lasted from 1978 to 1988 with the New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.

During those years, he appeared in 481 games, all in relief, and chalked up 20 saves.

In 1981, he was selected to the American League All-Star team.

Lacey, also a pitcher, made his Major League debut with the Oakland A's in 1977 and hurled 33 innings, before giving up an earned run.

In 1978, he led the American League in appearances with 74.

In 1980, he received his first major league pitching start and hurled a complete game shutout.

During his career, he pitched 451 innings, compiled a 20-29 win-loss record and a 3.67 ERA.

Virgil, who holds the distinction of being the first Dominican to play in Major League baseball, is a former utility player, whose career began in 1956 and continued until 1969.

Although primarily a third baseman, he played all positions, except pitcher and center field. During his career with the New York Giants, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Athletics, Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates, he posted a .231 batting average with 14 home runs and 73 RBIs.

Klimchock won two Minor League batting titles, before playing in the big leagues for the Kansas City Athletics, Milwaukee Braves, Cleveland Indians and Washington Senators.

In 1969 with the Indians, he hit a career high, .287.

The clinics

During the clinics, which are $25 per day, the four former pros will teach the basics of the sport, including pitching, fielding, hitting, base running, sportsmanship and throwing.

Campers can attend one clinic or both.

Arizona Youth Baseball, which is a charity of Arizona Major League Alumni (AZMLA), sponsors the clinic.

The former major Leaguers will remain in Payson June 30, to participate in a charity softball game at 6 p.m. at Rumsey II against the Northern Gila County Firefighters Association.

For more information about the clinic, call (928) 234-5072. Registration forms are available at the Payson Roundup, 708 N. Beeline Highway.

For softball ticket information, call (928) 468-8190.

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