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Former Major League Baseball Players at The Stayto

The Stayton at Museum Way retirement community in Fort Worth recently hosted a meaningful and collaborative event with former baseball stars including Darrell Evans, who played in the Major Leagues for 21 years as third baseman and first basemen and was described by American baseball writer Bill James as “the most underrated player in baseball history.” Evans and Pete O’Brien, who broke into the Major Leagues as a first baseman for the Texas Rangers, spent time reflecting on their experiences and shared stories from the clubhouse, the field and past games with The Stayton residents as part of a unique program that Evans has launched through the organization he co-founded, The Senior League Wish Foundation.

Evans’ “Hot Stove Senior League Baseball Program” comes from the baseball-related term referring to the “off-season” and conjures up images from years past when baseball fans, anxious for the start of the new season, would gather around a “hot stove” to discuss their favorite teams. This program recreates that scene in a way, but instead of gathering around a stove in the winter, at this event, Evans and O’Brien gathered onstage to talk about America’s favorite pastime and exchange personal stories with the residents of The Stayton. Tim Eaton, board member of The Senior League Wish Foundation, joined them for the event as the moderator asking Evans and O’Brien questions in a conversation-style presentation with slideshows and video clips.

“This was such a great opportunity for our resident baseball fans to engage in fascinating discussion about current events around the leagues and reminisce with the professionals to hear inside information about their time in the dugout,” said Scott Polzin, executive director of The Stayton at Museum Way. “It was inspiring to listen to Darrell Evans talk about breaking the age barrier in 1985, when he became the oldest player ever to lead the American League in home runs at age 38. Additionally, hearing about Pete O’Brien’s experiences from his start with the Rangers to the Cleveland Indians and the Seattle Mariners was intriguing. We appreciated the way he conveyed the importance of endurance and never giving up when it comes to a passion in one’s career and in one’s life overall.”

Evans played with the Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers, with whom he earned a World Series ring in 1984. Now he resides in Fort Worth with his wife Tonda, who is the co-founder of the Senior League Wish Foundation. Together, they give back to the community through programs like this one in order to have an immediate positive impact on the lives of seniors as they promote the belief that one is never too old to live a dream.

“We appreciate the wonderful people at The Stayton for hosting our Hot Stove Baseball Program,” said Evans. “Our goal at The Senior League is to bring awareness to the remarkable lives of our greatest generation. The former player participants who join us in this effort get to share their experiences from playing in the MLB, and in return, they hear the incredible life stories told by the seniors. We often invite kids to attend and participate in these programs as well so that they can see that older adults still have purposeful lives and realize that we can learn so much from them. Besides, what better way than using America's Pastime to encourage our youth to engage with seniors?”

After the event, Evans and O’Brien spent time mingling with the residents and autographing photos and baseballs for their fans. They also visited the senior residents in other levels of care who were unable to attend the presentation. This event was made possible with the help of other sponsoring organizations in addition to The Stayton, including the Texas Lonestars softball team, who also attended the event, Fireside Lodge and Universal Hospice.

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