Myrtle Beach, SC - From the Myrtle Beach Pelicans:
MYRTLE BEACH, SC - The starting pitchers for the 2010 California-Carolina League All-Star Game won't be known for another month, but it's been announced that two future Pro Football Hall of Famers will actually be the first to take the mound on June 22.
Former NFL superstar running backs and long-time friends Jerome Bettis and Eddie George will toss out ceremonial first pitches just prior to the game at BB&T Coastal Stadium and also attend other events surrounding All-Star Week on the Grand Strand.
In addition to toeing the rubber for first pitches and settling in to enjoy the Midsummer Classic on June 22, the duo is also scheduled to attend the All-Star Gala event on June 21 at the House of Blues.
Since 2008, both Bettis and George have been investors in the Pelicans ownership group, Myrtle Beach Pelicans LP, and will be making return visits to BB&T Coastal Field and Myrtle Beach.
"Having Jerome and Eddie participating in our All-Star Week activities not only adds some serious sizzle and underscores what an exciting event we are hosting, but it also demonstrates the tremendous level of support both have brought to our organization since they joined our ownership group two years ago and how much they enjoy being connected to the Pelicans and Minor League Baseball," said Pelicans' General Manager Scotty Brown.
Bettis, nicknamed "The Bus," played in 13 National Football League seasons, including 10 for the Pittsburgh Steelers where he finished his illustrious career as a Super Bowl champion following the 2005 season. Jerome, who entered the NFL as a first round draft selection of the Los Angeles Rams in 1993, is the fifth all-time leading rusher in league history with 13,662 yards and his 91 career touchdowns rank tenth in NFL history.
He is eligible to be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011, which will be announced next February.
Jerome has been involved in Minor League Baseball ownership since 2002, when he was first joined the new Altoona Curve ownership group headed by current Pelicans' Chairman and Managing Partner Chuck Greenberg, and remained part of that group until the club was sold in December 2008.
In addition to his ownership stake with the Pelicans, Bettis is also involved in the group which owns the Myrtle Beach's sister franchise, the State College Spikes of the Class-A Short-Season New York-Penn League.
Following a storied college career at Ohio State University, which included being named the winner of the 1995 Heisman Trophy as the nation's top player, George went on to play in nine NFL seasons, mostly with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans franchise from 1996-2003.
Despite having his career cut short by injuries, Eddie finished with over 10,000 rushing yards (10,441), including 1,000-yard seasons in each of his first five campaigns. In 1999, George led the Titans to their only Super Bowl appearance, a narrow loss to the St. Louis Rams. He retired after one season with the Dallas Cowboys in 2004.
The 2010 Midsummer Classic in Myrtle Beach will mark the second consecutive All-Star Game on the Carolina League cycle which the Pelicans will be hosting. The club hosted the 2008 Carolina League-California League All-Star Game, which was regarded as one of the best in event history.
A crowd of 6,599, which remains tied for the largest in BB&T Coastal Field history, packed the ballpark for the 2008 game, which featured numerous top Major League prospects, including current big leaguers Pablo Sandoval (San Francisco Giants) and Matt Wieters (Baltimore Orioles).
Tickets are on sale now for the 2010 California-Carolina League All-Star Game through the Pelicans Box Office. The Pelicans have planned a packed schedule for the 2010 All-Star Break in Myrtle Beach.