Appearances by three members of the legendary Dodger infield of the 1970s and early ’80s– Steve Garvey, Bill Russell and Ron Cey – highlight the fifth annual Sowing Seeds for Life Celebrity Golf Tournament for Charity Monday, Oct. 7, at Glendora Country Club with a noon tee off time. Sowing Seeds for Life is a La Verne-based charity that, among other things, feeds some 6,000 needy people per month.
The Dodger trio, plus former Dodger pitcher and “Dodger Talk” host Al Downing are scheduled to be there about two hours prior to play to greet and meet participating golfers. The Times’ Bill Dwyre will moderate a panel discussion in the evening featuring Russell, Downing, former UCLA quarterback and current radio commentator Matt Stevens and, tentatively, Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith.
Initially Garvey, Russell and Cey, along with former UCLA football coach Terry Donahue, were scheduled to take part in the evening panel. But the probability of a Game 4 of the playoff series between the Dodgers and Atlanta Braves Monday night eliminated Garvey and Cey. Garvey is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and Cey works for the Dodgers in community relations. Garvey said he will host the threesome he was scheduled to play with at his club in Indian Wells at a later date.
Donahue had to drop out because of a business commitment but in turn had lunch with tournament honoree Tim Grant, a UCLA alum, on Wednesday in Newport Beach.
Among other celebrities scheduled to play in the tournament is Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay. UCLA play-by-play announcer Chris Roberts will serve as the event’s auctioneer. The live auction will feature a photo opportunity for four with Vin Scully in his Dodger Stadium booth and a visit for two to the “Fox NFL Sunday” pregame show set in West Los Angeles.
But the highlight of the tournament will be the presence of three of the four members from that famous Dodger infield. The only one missing will be Davey Lopes, now a Dodger coach. The infield of Garvey, Lopes, Russell and Cey were together from June 23, 1973 until 1981, when the season ended with the Dodgers beating the New York Yankees in Game 6 of the World Series. Cey shared World Series MVP honors with teammates Steve Yeager and Pedro Guerrero.
During their years together, Garvey, Lopes, Russell and Cey were responsible for four pennants, one title, 21 All-Star appearances, five Gold Gloves, a National League MVP, an NL Championship Series MVP and that share of the 1981 World Series MVP.
The tournament’s title sponsor is the Feinberg Shuler Group, a wealth management firm in Woodland Hills affiliated with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and headed by Joseph Feinberg, Dan Shuler and Tamara Stein. Feinberg is also affiliated with the Feinberg Foundation of Chicago, which among other things funded the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.
In addition to attracting a prestigious title sponsor, there have been a number of big-name sports celebrities at past SSFL tournaments. They include Laker legends Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, James Worthy and Bill Sharman, former Dodgers Tommy Davis and Al Downing, former UCLA coach Jim Harrick, L.A. Kings announcer Bob Miller, sportscaster/entertainer Roy Firestone and others.
The cost to play in this year’s tournament is $200 per player and $750 for a foursome. The cost of the dinner is $100.
Sowing Seeds for Life, is a 501 © (3) non-profit that directly provides food, water, personal-car items and social services to needy people per month in the East San Gabriel Valley. Its headquarters are at the DPI Labs building at 1350 Arrow Highway. The driving force behind the charity and the tournament is Vicki Brown, who besides being the founder and CEO of Sowing Seeds for Life is also the CEO of DPI Labs, a prominent La Verne aerospace manufacturing company. Brown literally planted the seeds that grew the charity and the tournament. Sowing Seeds for Life started out as a backyard garden project. “I’m just proud to be the one who watches all this happen,” she says modestly.