Fan Favorite Ozzie Smith Hosts 17th Edition of Hall of Fame Weekend Favorite PLAY Ball

2002 Hall of Fame Electee and Museum Education Ambassador Joins Special Guests Jeff Bagwell, Johnny Bench and Tim Raines at the Museum’s Annual Education Fundraiser, July 27

(COOPERSTOWN, NY) – Sixteen years after his Hall of Fame induction, the Wizard is still creating magic in Cooperstown.

Ozzie Smith, the Education Ambassador for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, will host PLAY Ball with Ozzie Smith on Friday, July 27, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Cooperstown. Ozzie will welcome fellow Hall of Famers Jeff Bagwell, Johnny Bench and Tim Raines as his guests during a fun-filled morning that gives fans a unique chance to experience on-field moments and stories with Hall of Famers.

Now in its 17th season, PLAY Ball is a Museum fundraiser that supports the Hall of Fame’s educational mission and internship scholarships. 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 27 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 the game has known.

PLAY Balll is a Museum fundraiser that supports the Hall of Fame’s educational mission and the Ozzie Smith Diversity Scholarships for the Museum’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development. Since 2002, the program has raised more than $200,000 for the Museum’s initiatives.

Smith, known through his 19-year career as The Wizard of Oz, won a record 13 Gold Glove Awards at shortstop and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2002.

Bagwell, the 1991 National League Rookie of the Year and 1994 NL Most Valuable Player, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2017. During 15 seasons – all with the Astros – Bagwell hit .297 with 449 home runs.

Bench, a two-time National League MVP and 14-time All-Star, played his entire 17-year career with the Reds, winning 10 Gold Glove Awards for his work behind the plate. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1989.

Raines, a member of the Class of 2017, was a seven-time All-Star with the Expos, White Sox, Yankees, Athletics, Orioles and Marlins who totaled 808 stolen bases, the fifth-best mark all-time.

PLAY Ball is part of the July 27-30 Hall of Fame Weekend activities that will be highlighted by the July 29 Induction Ceremony when Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, Jack Morris, Jim Thome and Alan Trammell will be inducted as the Class of 2018.

A limited number of spaces for PLAY Ball remain, and a reservation is required. Event pricing is $750 for Members, $1,000 for non-Members. Members may reserve spots now by calling 607-547-0230. For more information on Membership, please visit

The Museum maintains the following Hall of Fame Weekend hours: Friday, July 27: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, July 28: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, July 29: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Monday, July 30: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For Hall of Fame Members, doors open at 7 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday and at 8 a.m. on Monday. As always, Hall of Fame Members receive free admission.