9/16/2013 1:25 P.M. ET

Former pros reconnect at MLBPAA Alumni Day

Nearly 50 ex-big leaguers take part in gathering at Chase Field in Phoenix
PHOENIX -- Jerry Kindall and Dick Johnson played together in the Cubs' Minor League system. That was 55 years ago.

But the two were embracing in a bear hug Sunday afternoon at Chase Field.

Kindall and Johnson were part of nearly 50 former players to enjoy a Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association Alumni Day prior to the Diamondbacks-Rockies series finale. The Kindall-Johnson embrace was the biggest of the day, but there was no shortage of smiles and laughs as the former players fell back into many of their old clubhouse routines from days gone by.

There were discussions on how to pitch some of today's best hitters, batting strategies and plenty of laugh-inducing stories.

"So many of the intersections in a baseball player's life can come back together at a thing like this," said Kindall, a former infielder who played nine years in the Majors and retired after the Twins released him in 1966.

The event was the seventh of eight Alumni Days put on around the country in recent weeks by the non-profit MLBPAA, which was founded in 1982 to help former players transition into life after baseball. The MLBPAA promotes the game and raises money for charity through its membership. But Sunday's event was a social one for former players living in Arizona.

"When we reconnect as groups we start to feel some of what we felt as players," said Mike Remlinger, a former left-handed reliever who played 14 seasons before he retired in 2006. "We remember that camaraderie and that team of everyone pulling together. It helps out a lot. I think to a man, if you ask guys what they miss, if they can put it into words, it really comes down to the teammates, camaraderie and just hanging out with your buddies and being with peers who have the common goal of 'Let's go win a ballgame.'"

That's how Mike Kelly, who was attending his first MLBPAA event, felt as soon as he walked through the door.

"I've seen a few guys I played with, and there are a lot of faces who I didn't get the chance to play with who I'm meeting for the first time, which is great," said Kelly, who roamed the outfield for four teams in six seasons in the late 1990s. "It's tough [retiring]. When you've done something for most of your life and you're so familiar with it and comfortable with it, it's hard to do anything else. I try to stay involved in the game as much as possible. It's an ongoing process.

"You never know what life is going to throw at you. It's almost as if it was just yesterday we were playing together. It's really cool to have these kinds of relationships. It's great to see where life has led guys."

That is exactly what MLBPAA CEO Dan Foster envisioned for the Alumni Day get-togethers, which are expected to become annual events.

"I've seen tears in guys' eyes," Foster said. "There is a business side to it; I'm the voice for these guys in terms of pensions and health care. But there is a fraternal aspect. We just want to get guys in the same room and let it happen. I've seen guys walk up to each other who haven't seen one another in 40 years and give each other a big hug."

Fittingly, Foster's comment came mere minutes before Kindall and Johnson entered the room. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLBPAA Events
June 28, 2017: Duesseldorf Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 1, 2017: Rotterdam Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 1, 2017: Salinas Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 1, 2017: San Diego Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 2, 2017: Rotterdam Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 5, 2017: Rotterdam Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 7, 2017: Rotterdam Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 9, 2017: Miami Alumni Day
The Alumni Day Series consists of a pre-game reception hosted at Major League Baseball Stadiums and includes two free tickets for each former player and their guest.
July 13, 2017: Cincinnati Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 15, 2017: Kansas City Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 15, 2017: Hartford Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 16, 2017: Eastport Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 16, 2017: St. Louis Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 17, 2017: Columbia Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 17, 2017: Waipahu Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 18, 2017: Hilo Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 19, 2017: Dallas Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 19, 2017: Lihue Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 20, 2017: Maui Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 21, 2017: Louisville Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 21, 2017: Fort Worth Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 22, 2017: Houston Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 22, 2017: Waterbury Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 23, 2017: Noblesville Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 24, 2017: Baton Rouge Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 24, 2017: Westfield Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 25, 2017: New Orleans Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 25, 2017: Colorado Springs Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 26, 2017: Chicago Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 27, 2017: Memphis Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 27, 2017: New York Alumni Day
The Alumni Day Series consists of a pre-game reception hosted at Major League Baseball Stadiums and includes two free tickets for each former player and their guest.
July 28, 2017: Hot Springs Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 28, 2017: Milwaukee Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 29, 2017: Springfield Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 29, 2017: Visalia Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
July 30, 2017: Omaha Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 1, 2017: Baltimore Alumni Day
The Alumni Day Series consists of a pre-game reception hosted at Major League Baseball Stadiums and includes two free tickets for each former player and their guest.
Aug. 1-2, 2017: Belgrade Lakes Fundraiser
This MLBPAA fundraising event will benefit the MLBPAA and Alfond Youth Center Foundation.
Aug. 1, 2017: Boise Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 4, 2017: Kent Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 4, 2017: Lakewood Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 6, 2017: Portland Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 7, 2017: Old Westbury Fundraiser
This MLBPAA fundraising event will benefit the Frank Catalanotto Foundation.
Aug. 11, 2017: Medford Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 13, 2017: Redding Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 15, 2017: Sacramento Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 19, 2017: Boston Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 19, 2017: Seattle Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 21, 2017: Salt Lake City Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 25, 2017: Philadelphia Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 26, 2017: Visalia Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Aug. 30, 2017: Norfolk Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Sept. 6, 2017: San Diego Alumni Day
The Alumni Day Series consists of a pre-game reception hosted at Major League Baseball Stadiums and includes two free tickets for each former player and their guest.
Sept. 13-14, 2017: Harrisburg Fundraiser
This MLBPAA fundraising event will benefit the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation.
Sept. 23, 2017: Chicago Alumni Day
The Alumni Day Series consists of a pre-game reception hosted at Major League Baseball Stadiums and includes two free tickets for each former player and their guest.
Sept. 30, 2017: Visalia Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Oct. 14, 2017: Hartford Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Oct. 14, 2017: Hartford Coaches Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Oct. 28, 2017: Visalia Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Nov. 3-5, 2017: Nicaragua Clinics
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Nov. 25, 2017: Visalia Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Dec. 14, 2017: Panama City Coaches Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Dec. 15, 2017: Panama City Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Dec. 16, 2017: Panama City Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Dec. 17, 2017: Colon Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Dec. 30, 2017: Visalia Clinic
Legends for Youth Clinics allow the nation's youth to learn from baseball's all-time greats.
Complete Event Schedule