Thirteen Major League Baseball (MLB) Umpires and a few caring friends met at Augusta Ranch Golf Course on November 5, 2008 for the inaugural UMPS CARE Charities 100 Hole Golf Marathon.  The event raised nearly $60,000 to benefit children served by UMPS CARE Charities.   Proceeds will help provide memorable Build-A-Bear Workshop experiences for pediatric cancer patients and big league baseball experiences for children awaiting adoption.

Umpire Jim Reynolds proposed the golf marathon as a fun way for professional umpires to make a difference for America’s youth and families in need.  Twelve fellow umpires answered the call by raising funds and playing.  Many umpires who were unable to participate in the event contributed to the effort by financially supporting one or more umpires who did play.   It was truly a collaborative effort.

The roster of golfers included these MLB Umpires: Ted Barrett, Wally Bell, Gary Cederstrom, Kerwin Danley, Gary Darling, Doug Eddings, Sam Holbrook, Marvin Hudson, Jerry Meals, Larry Poncino, Jim Reynolds, Tim Timmons, and Jim Wolf.

On average, golf marathoners raised more than $4,000 each in just over six weeks.  Golfers set up their own personalized fundraising pages that allowed family members, friends, and business associates to quickly and easily donate online or by personal check.   

The online fundraising tools allowed umpire Tim Timmons to raise more than $9,000.  To acknowledge the effort, Reynolds strapped a huge stuffed bear to Timmon’s golf cart so that no one could mistake who he was from any distance.  The bear wore a t-shirt with the UMPS CARE Charities logo on the front and the words “This UMP CARES the Most!" on the back.

[Click 'Sponsor a Player' tab above for fundraising breakdown]

Starting at 7:30AM, golfers divided up into groups of two or three players and took to Augusta Ranch Golf Course.  Speed play was the name of the game with golfers playing continuously to complete 82 holes before meeting back at the clubhouse in the afternoon.

With 18 holes remaining, umpires Tim Timmons, Gary Darling, and Jim Reynolds (the top three individual fundraisers) held a draft of players to form teams for a final 18-hole fun competition.  Team Reynolds including Jerry Meals, Doug Eddings, and Kerwin Danley won the final competition to conclude the inaugural golf marathon.  

In the days immediately following the event, a number of e-mails went back and forth between the participants.  Two e-mails in particular capture the overall feeling of accomplishment:

Gary DarlingUMPS CARE Charities Board President
“What a great day yesterday was. Thank you everyone! We all should be proud of the effort made to make the marathon a complete success. I don’t think any of us envisioned how much fun the day would be and how successful the fundraising efforts were - Great job! The venue was perfect, the swings were sometimes perfect, but the camaraderie was off the charts.”

Sam Holbrook, UMPS CARE Charities Board Director
“I second that...just got home and I’m worn out but it was well worth it.  Susie and I had a great time for a great cause...raising money shouldn't be that much fun...thanks to everybody who made it a great outing.”

The 2009 UMPS CARE Charities 100 Hole Golf Marathon is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at Augusta Ranch Golf Course in Mesa, Arizona.  All MLB and MiLB Umpires are eligible to register.

UmpsCare BACK (L-R) Holbrook, Timmons, Darling, Bell, Danley, Barrett, Poncino. FRONT (L-R) Meals, Reynolds, Hudson, Eddings, Wolf, Cederstrom.