The West Raleigh Baseball Association (WRBA) will hold a 50th Anniversary celebration on February 9, 2008 at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, North Carolina. The gala will honor 50 seasons of high caliber youth baseball in the greater Raleigh area, as well as launch “Drive for a Million,” a project devoted to raising $1 million for baseball field improvements. The highlight of the evening, featured guest, Bill Ripken, a 12-year major league veteran and brother of Hall of Fame member Cal Ripken, will speak at the event.
West Raleigh is a competitive youth baseball league comprised of kids 5-14 years of age, who share a love for the game of baseball. West Raleigh is well recognized as the premier league in the greater Raleigh area competing in the statewide Little Tar Heel and national Ripken Baseball organizations. The league is well respected by local High School and College baseball coaches, and there are numerous West Raleigh players on rosters of area High Schools, D-1 colleges and dozens of alumni (including local pro Josh Hamilton) are currently in the professional baseball ranks.
David Chapman, CEO of 919 Marketing Company is a long time coach and supporter of the league. “While the trophy room is full of state, regional and national championships, and a large percentage of players move on to play in High School, college and even the pros, the league’s greatest success story is the 50 year tradition of helping kids improve, find success and build lifelong friendships, playing in a positive, competitive environment. I’d like to extend an invitation to past West Raleigh families to help us kick off the ‘Drive for a Million’ fundraiser project, which will enable us to upgrade the complex with new lights and field extensions, taking West Raleigh baseball into the next 50 years.”
The West Raleigh Baseball Association (WRBA) is also a member of the National Exchange Club. WRBA works to raise awareness for their mission to prevent child abuse by providing a safe and positive environment for young athletes. This gala provides a benchmark reminder of the association’s accomplishments and is a stepping stone to the future of Raleigh-area baseball.
To help secure that future, the ‘Drive for a Million’ fundraising project has been created to finance the necessary upgrades of WRBA’s older baseball facilities. The association’s planned improvements include the creation of new fields, purchasing new equipment, repairing practice fields, and opening more year-round, indoor practice facilities to provide a safe and modern environment for players. The WRBA is also looking to improve the facility for fans with plans to upgrade the concession areas, restrooms, and viewing stands, as well as increase the paved parking area.
While the 50th Anniversary gala proceeds will jumpstart the ‘Drive for a Million’ project, the fundraising agenda will also include corporate and personal donations, sponsorships and other campaigns to raise money throughout this year. The WRBA has already made some safety improvements, but through the ‘Drive for a Million’ project, the association will focus on modernizing and expanding their facilities for Raleigh’s young baseball athletes and fans. The changes ahead will require substantial fundraising efforts.
To raise awareness for the February 9th anniversary event, the WRBA is bringing in Bill Ripken, brother of baseball legend, Cal Ripken, as the featured keynote speaker. Before he dons his dress attire for the celebration, Ripken will host a coaches’ clinic at 9:00AM at Cary Academy. Bill has earned numerous other honors for his baseball career, including being inducted into the Maryland Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. Being a part of charitable events are common to the Ripken family, who established the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation in 2001. The program, which was started by Bill and brother, Cal, focuses on building character in disadvantaged youth through baseball, and presents children with life changing experiences.
The West Raleigh Baseball Association’s 50th Anniversary Gala tickets are available to the public. General tickets are available for $75.00. Senior tickets are $50.00. Donations are also welcome and appreciated.
About the West Raleigh Baseball Association
Since 1958, West Raleigh Baseball Association has helped children by preventing child abuse through youth programs and advocacy as part of National Exchange Club. With spring and fall baseball and girls softball teams, the incorporated non-profit/tax exempt organization serves over 800 youth, ages 5 through 14 years old. The West Raleigh program advocates teamwork, good sportsmanship, skill growth and healthy competition for children of varying ages.