The Wizard Covers the Bases in Benefiting Museum’s Education Outreach with the 10th Edition of Hall of Fame Weekend Favorite PLAY Ball

New Format for 2011 Features Ozzie Smith and Special Guests Rod Carew, Andre Dawson and Whitey Herzog at the Museum’s Annual Education Fundraiser, July 22

July 06, 2011
Ozzie Smith will host PLAY Ball on July 22 with special Hall of Fame guests. (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

COOPERSTOWN, NY – His spectacular plays at shortstop are still the stuff of highlight reels, making Ozzie Smith one of the game's authorities on the subject of defense.

But when "The Wizard" takes the field Hall of Fame Weekend for the annual PLAY Ball with Ozzie Smith event in Cooperstown, he'll also share tips on hitting, managing and all-around play – thanks to a little help from his Hall of Fame friends – in the name of helping the Museum's educational programs and internship scholarships.

Smith, the Hall of Fame's Education Ambassador, will host PLAY Ball with Ozzie Smith on Friday, July 22 from 8 a.m. until noon in Cooperstown to give fans a unique chance to experience on-field moments and stories with Hall of Fame members. Ozzie will welcome fellow Hall of Famers Rod Carew, Andre Dawson and Whitey Herzog as his guests to the event in 2011.

Since hosting the event annually beginning in 2002, Ozzie Smith has helped raise more than $100,000 for the Museum's educational outreach programs and the Ozzie Smith Diversity Scholarships, presented annually to members of the Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development. Smith, a 13-time Gold Glove Award winner, will lead the PLAY Ball event for the 10th consecutive year.

Carew, a seven-time American League batting champion, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991. Dawson, one of two Hall of Famers – along with Willie Mays – with at least 400 career home runs and 300 career steals, will be joined at PLAY Ball by fellow Class of 2010 member Herzog, who managed six division winners, three NL pennant squads and the 1982 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.

Participants in PLAY Ball each receive on-field round-robin interaction with the Hall of Famers along with special mementos to commemorate their experience. The event will begin at 8 a.m. July 22 with an exclusive morning reception in the Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery with Ozzie and his Hall of Fame friends. Following photos, stories and interaction with their Hall of Fame guides, PLAY Ball participants will hit the field at a Cooperstown-area diamond, where they will receive two hours of instruction along with non-stop interaction from some of the greatest players and strategists the game has known.

PLAY Ball is part of the July 22-25 Hall of Fame Weekend activities that will be highlighted by the July 24 Induction Ceremony when Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven and Pat Gillick will be enshrined as the Class of 2011.

A limited number of spaces for PLAY Ball remain, and a reservation is required. Event pricing is $450 for Members, $600 for non-Members. Members may reserve spots now by calling 607-547-0397. For more information on Membership, please visit www.baseballhall.org .

The Museum maintains the following Hall of Fame Weekend hours: Friday, July 22: 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Saturday, July 23: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sunday, July 24: 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Monday, July 26: 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Advance tickets are not necessary but are available by contacting the Hall of Fame at 888-425-5633. For Hall of Fame Members, doors open at 7 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. As always, Hall of Fame Members receive free admission. A special Members' only entrance eliminates the need to wait in line. Interested parties may enroll in the Membership Program in advance or at the Museum.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is open seven days a week year round, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. The Museum observes summer hours of 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. from Memorial Day Weekend until the day before Labor Day. From Labor Day until Memorial Day Weekend, the Museum observes daily regular hours of 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Ticket prices are $19.50 for adults (13 and over), $12 for seniors (65 and over) and for those holding current memberships in the VFW, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion and AMVets organizations, and $7 for juniors (ages 7-12). Members are always admitted free of charge and there is no charge for children 6 years of age or younger. For more information, visit our Web site at baseballhall.org or call 888-HALL-OF-FAME (888-425-5633) or 607-547-7200.