Sunday is going to be a big day for local amateur baseball at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans, as the stars of the future will be showcasedwith the stars of the past to follow.
The 12th annual Anne Arundel County Sun/Oriolelanders all-star baseball game will open the doubleheader at 1:30 p.m., with the Chesapeake Men's 30 and Over Senior League All Stars set to play at 5 p.m.
It's a can't-miss for baseball fans on a fall afternoon when the weather is often more conducive for the great game of baseball than it is in the spring and summer. Admission is free.
The first game pits the best Anne Arundel County high school players (12 top seniors)and a handful of the best from the top-notch program at Anne ArundelCommunity against the Oriolelanders.
Baltimore Orioles scouting supervisor Jim Gilbert assembled the Oriolelanders, handpicking the best he could find at Oriole tryout camps in the Mid-Atlantic area during the summer.
Then, in tryouts in Frederick and Hagerstown at theend of the summer, Gilbert put the final touches on his Oriolelanders' team, which plays through the fall.
This game has produced 80 players who have signed or been drafted by major-league clubs, including eight from last year's game.
In Sunday's column, I will take a closer look at those who will be playing in this year's game.
Today, let's look at the old guys who will play the second game and, I'm sure, bring back a few memories.
Unfortunately, the 4-year-old Chesapeake 30 and Over Seniors League won't get to play the Chesapeake Independent League All Stars. The Independent League informed us yesterday that they will not post.
The Chesapeake Independent League is18 years old, and on occasion has been of minor-league caliber. A good description for it would be "semi-pro."
Chesapeake Independent players were to play the second game last year at the grand opening of Joe Cannon Stadium, but heavy rains washed out their show.
A couple of weeks ago, Chesapeake Independent president and manager of theDorsey Stars Larry Brogden told us that his league was interested inplaying but that it had a playoff schedule conflict. Brogden said, "There are a lot of guys who would like to play, and I will get back to you after I talk to everybody."
After two weeks, I had yet to hear from Brogden. Repeated phone calls by myself and local umpire Jocko Svoboda were made to Brogden's house and to Annapolis High, where he teaches and coaches baseball.
After several phone calls yesterday to Annapolis, I became totally frustrated and got an Annapolis teacher to go to Brogden's class and find out if his league was playing.
The answer came back: "no."
"That's really too bad, because it's been such a good league for so many years and not too many people outside of those connected with the league know about it," Svoboda said.
"I'm disappointed they can't play because just last week a few guys from Tracy's Landing asked me when they were going to get a chance to play at Cannon. They had the chance but, I guess, can't do it."
No problem, baseball fans. Dave Conrad and the Chesapeake SeniorsLeague simply will divide their squad and come up with two teams.
"We've got enough guys to do it and make a good showing," Conrad said.
After the Chesapeake Independent League dropped out, Conrad hadtwo choices: (a) play a combined Oriolelanders-Suns team; or (b) divide up into two interleague teams.
Conrad took "b," and it was an easy choice.
"I don't know about playing those younger guys," Conrad laughed.
"We've got some real good players, ex-pros, but I don't know if they're ready for that."
Maybe if they could spend some time at the Orioles' Fantasy Week, the old guys could handle those young bucks, but not now.
All joking aside, the Chesapeake 30 and Over Men won't disappoint because they truly do have some good players,some who at one time were good enough to play pro baseball.
Let'sstart with Broadneck Dodgers catcher-designated hitter John Stefero,who made it to the big show.
The left-handed-hitting Stefero, a Glen Burnie resident, played with the Baltimore Orioles and Montreal Expos, batting for a paycheck against the likes of Goose Gossage and Doc Gooden.
Nagging injuries and a few squabbles with management ended Stefero's career as a minor-league catcher in the Cleveland Indians' organization.
Steve Jordan, who played with Stefero at Mount St. Joseph in Baltimore, had a stint with the Milwaukee Brewers beforebeing released. Jordan, from Linthicum, also plays for the BroadneckDodgers, and will play in Sunday's all-star game.
A third Broadneck Dodger expected to play is ex-Arundel High star Neal Herrick, who was drafted by the California Angels and later the Baltimore Orioles,whom he signed with.
Herrick starred at the University of Maryland as on outfielder before signing with the Birds.
He spent two years in the minors with the Orioles before being released.
Classy left-handed pitcher Bobby Englemyer, who starred at Brooklyn Park High before pitching in the Kansas City Royals or