August 20, 2013
Woody's Wiffleball Classic a 'hit' at Wrigley
Inaugural event raises more than $490,000 for WFF
CHICAGO -- Last Saturday, fans at Wrigley Field were able to witness Kerry Wood's return to the mound. But this time, the game was Wiffle ball and his teammates were a combination of celebrities and media personalities which included Bill Murray, Matthew Perry and Jenny McCarthy.
Wood and wife Sarah hosted the First Annual Woody's Wiffle Ball Classic, an all-day sporting event sponsored by Walgreens which began with a 16 corporate-team tournament and ended with a Home Run Derby and celebrity Wiffle for a Diffle game. The event successfully raised over $490,000 for the Wood Family Foundation.
During the day, the outfield of Wrigley was divided into four makeshift fields (Fenway Park, Field of Dreams, Wrigley Field and Yankee Stadium), complete with backdrops and bleachers where corporate teams competed against one another. The tournament began with Cubs special announcer Wayne Messmer singing the national anthem. Various celebrities and local media personalities served as captains and players for participating teams such as: Walgreens; United Airlines; InCapital; JP Morgan Chase; Sloane Valve Corporation; Bank of America/Merrill Lynch; Leo Burnett; Hillshire Brands; Field of Dreams/All-Star Ballpark Heaven; WinTrust Mortgage; Select Rehab; Chicago Trading Company; Chicago Athletic Club and Four Corners Tavern Group.
Funnyman Murray jumped in to play in the outfield with the Wintrust Mortgage and Walgreens teams while also working the crowd of Bleacher Bums all day. Leo Burnett's Bad Apples team had a cheer going all day with former Chicago Bears tackle Steve McMichael at the helm. In the end, it was the All-Star Ballpark Heaven team captained by Matthew Perry that was crowned the 2013 Wiffle ball champions and received the official Woody's Wiffle Ball Classic trophy.
What followed will probably go down as one of the most memorable moments at Wrigley Field for anyone inside that stadium, and you definitely had to be there!
The field was prepared for the Home Run Derby, which was pitched by Wood. Participants included Moises Alou, CM Punk, Derrek Lee, Michael Barrett, McCarthy, Murray and Perry. Former Cubs players Alou, Lee and Barrett wowed fans. When all was said and done, it was Barrett who won and received the title of Home Run Derby champion.
American Idol winner Lee Dewyze kicked off the celebrity Wiffle for a Diffle game with the national anthem, followed by Wood Family Foundation scholar recipient Gaby Santoyo throwing out the first pitch. Approximately 70 celebrity players, donned in full throwback baseball uniforms (red and blue), took their positions on the field and in the batting order, and the fun began. Emcee Paula Faris (former NBC Chicago sports reporter) announced each batter who came up to their chosen theme song.
Entertaining moments included Bill Murray making "The Biggest Loser" winner Danni Allen run laps for striking out when at-bat; WWE wrestler CM Punk trying to hit the ball with a fold-up chair instead of a bat; Kerry striking wife Sarah out; and Murray going deep in his first at bat.
Chicago Blackhawks anthem singer Jim Cornelison sang during the seventh-inning stretch, but the perfect ending came when former Cub Glendon Rusch hit the game-winning grand slam for the blue team.
"Woody's Wiffle Ball Classic was the most fun our Walgreens team has ever had. We are happy to be able to support the Wood Family Foundation and the work they do," Wade Miquelon, CFO for Walgreens, said. "Training camp starts Monday for the 2014 tournament. We'll be back!"
"Woody's Wiffle Ball Classic was a fantastic day at Wrigley for everyone," Sarah Wood said. "Most of us played Wiffle ball as kids, and seeing over 160 grown children relive their childhood on the sacred grass at Wrigley Field was priceless!"
"It was great to have our Englewood Baseball Clinic kids and UIC Scholarship recipient, Gaby Santoyo, out at Wrigley participating in the events," Kerry Wood said. "Our celebrity guests had a blast, and this is definitely one event that cannot be duplicated. We can't wait for next year!"
Celebrities that participated included Matthew Perry, Bill Murray, Joel Murray ("Mad Men"), Jenny McCarthy, George Wendt ("Cheers"), Adam Rodriguez ("CSI Miami"), CM Punk (WWE Wrestler), Mark Moses ("Mad Men"), Josh Charles ("The Good Wife"), Todd Walker (former Chicago Cub), Moises Alou (former Chicago Cub), Michael Barrett (former Chicago Cub), Steve Trout (former Chicago Cub), Ron Harper (former Chicago Bull), Kristy Swanson ("Buffy The Vampire Slayer"), Kevin Farley, Sarah Colonna ("Chelsea Lately"), Derrek Lee (former Chicago Cub), Aimee Garcia ("Dexter"), Neil Flynn ("Scrubs"), DB Sweeney ("Mountain Men"), Ed Swiderski ("Bachelorette"), Lee Dewyze ("American Idol" winner), Peter Mackenzie ("Hart of Dixie"), Jeff Dye (comedian), Finesse Mitchell (comedian), Jim Cornelison (Chicago Blackhawks anthem singer), Danni Allen (current "The Biggest Loser" winner), Chris Chelios (former Chicago Blackhawk), Lloyd Eisler (Olympic ice skater), Pat Finn ("Marvin Marvin"), Eric Gilliland (film director), Lisa Guerrero ("Sunset Beach"), Scott Eyre (former Chicago Cub), Ernie Halvorsen ("The Amazing Race" winner), Cindy Halvorsen ("The Amazing Race" winner), Steve McMichael (former Chicago Bear), Ramon Martinez (former Chicago Cub), Glendon Rusch (former Chicago Cub) and Wayne Messmer (former public address announcer for Chicago Cubs).
Local media personalities and celebrities that participated included: Ryan Baker (CBS Chicago), Lou Canellis (FOX), Ryan Chiaverini ("Windy City LIVE"), Roe Conn ("Roe and Roeper"), Janet Davies (ABC), Anna Davlantes (FOX), Eric Ferguson ("Eric and Kathy"), Brotha Fred ("Kiss FM"), Megan Glaros (CBS), Candace Jordan (The Chicago Tribune/Watch312.com), Jerrod Melman (Restaurateur), RJ Melman, (Restaurateur), Kathy Hart (" Eric and Kathy"), Dave Kaplan("Comcast/WGN"), Catie Keogh ("24-7 Chicago"), Natalie Martinez (NBC), Pete McMurray (WGN radio), Showbiz Shelly ("B96"), Dionne Miller (FOX), Jane Monzures ("FM101 News"), J Niice ("B96"), Richard Roeper ("Roe and Roeper"), Allison Rosati (NBC), Tracy Schmidt ("Crain's"), Marc Silverman ("Waddle & Silvy"), Sarah Spain (ESPNChicago.com), Rafer Weigel (ABC), Derrick Young (CBS), Kelli Zink (CelebTV.com) and Billy Dec (Restaurateur).
The Wood Family Foundation (WFF) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that was founded in June 2011 by Kerry and his wife Sarah. The WFF works to improve the lives of children in Chicago by raising funds for children's programs. The WFF acts as an advocate for children in the Chicago community, inspiring others to join them in their mission of giving children the resources they need to succeed.