Still Going Strong...

"Speed" Hervieux was thinking about the youth of Napa and the game of baseball when he sat down in 1958 and created "Brother Can You Spare a Dime", a program to collect loose change to send kids to baseball games.   He was also giving something back to the community that he got out of sports as a professional baseball player with the St. Louis Cardinals.  "I get a kick out of watching the kids, especially those who have never been to a big league baseball game before," Hervieux said in an interview with the Napa Register in June 1979. "I cater to kids whose parents can't afford to send them to ballgames," he added.  "Speed's" slogan was simple and direct:  "It may be your dime that will make some needy and deserving kid happy."  *

Little did he know that his dream created in 1958 would continue uninterrupted through owner lockouts, player strikes, record breaking, good times and bad times--due to the dedication of a few members of the Kiwanis Club of Napa: George Blaufuss, Joe Boivin, Bill O'Byrne and Ron Swim, with assistance from Bob Zeller and Jim Terry.  Ryan Gregory is the current President and is committed to the program's continued success.

While loose change is no longer involved, the concept remains simple:  Approximately 50 tickets are purchased for a game, 20 tickets are donated free of charge to a local youth organization and the remaining tickets are sold to the general public to offset some of the expense of this not-for-profit program.  Motor-coach transportation is provided for the entire group along with refreshments and entertainment on the road, making this the most convenient and cost-effective way to go to a Giants game.  The program costs not covered by ticket sales are subsidized by contributions from local individuals, businesses, service clubs and charitable organizations.

Along with serving Napa's underprivileged and deserving youths, the program has evolved by also including many senior citizens who would not otherwise be able to make it to a ballgame on their own.  A lot of the seniors have been coming for years, some are in their 80's and 90's and a few are wheel-chaired to their seats in the ballpark.  Many are BCYSD "season ticket buyers" and wouldn’t miss a game on the schedule.

Last season BCYSD attended eight Sunday afternoon games and treated youths from Aldea, Special Olympics, Chamberlain School, Wolfe Center, Catholic Charities, Samaritan Family Shelter and Hanna Boys Center. We will do the same or more this year, depending on community support. 

Many of our special guests have never seen a professional baseball game before, and some have never crossed the Bay Bridge.  That’s what it’s all about!  Since 1958, or since when baseball began, some things never change.  "Speed" would be proud.


*Credit to Marty James and The Napa Register April 1988 article.

 

News article from 1977 Napa County Record

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