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ALUMNI GAME SET, PLAY AT NO COST FOR 17U ANNOUNCED

Sunday, July 26, 2015 • POSTED BY:  Jim Tucker

By: John Burbridge

HAMMOND | If you want to make James Richards feel old, tell him the Indiana Chiefs of Hammond are finishing up their 25th season.

If you want him to feel even older, ask him if he's going to play in the Chiefs' upcoming Alumni Game, Aug. 8 at Riverside Park.

"The last one I participated in was 2006," said Richards, who was a shortstop and pitcher for the Chiefs original team in 1990, and played on the Chiefs' first Senior Babe Ruth World Series team in 1991, which placed fourth in the nation.

"The problem was I stopped playing baseball after I left the Chiefs," Richards said. "I played softball, but it was nothing like playing baseball ... nothing like playing for the Chiefs.

"I would do it all over again ... if I was young again."

The Chiefs were founded by Dave Sutkowski.

"We called him 'bush' because of his big, brushed-back hairstyle," Richards said of Sutkowski, "but he was a great coach, and in the beginning it was all him when it came to getting fields ready ... making sure they were mowed and lined.

"Tell you the truth, I didn't think it would last this long."

The Chiefs returned to the Senior Babe Ruth World Series eight more times, winning it all in 2003 and placing second in 2009.

To start their second quarter of century in business, the Chiefs are going to try something new -- offer travel baseball for free.

"It was something we were thinking about doing for a while before just recently deciding to pull it off," Sutkowski said of the Chiefs "Pay at No Cost" policy for the 17-and-under team.

"We're going to do it for the 2016 season ... no registration fee for players that make the team," Sutkowski said. "Costs have gone up for travel baseball ... more than $2,000 in most cases. But we've talked with some sponsors and supporters, and we're reaching out to our alumni players for any support from them.

"We're going to make it happen."

In addition to giving more kids an opportunity to play travel ball whose families would otherwise not be able to afford it, Sutkowski says his "Pay at No Cost" program will provide an experience what it might be like to play on a college team.

"Travel will be provided by our program, hotel cost will be provided, meals will be provided on the road," Sutkowski said. "All this is for our players to experience that college type atmosphere of being with their teammates during road trips."

Former Chiefs players who are interested in participating in the alumni game or any alumni at all, please follow the link to the Google Form below to add your name to the Database established for the Chiefs.

Link for Alumni Game/ Database Sign-Up: http://goo.gl/forms/gpTd030zKC

 

For those interested in donating to the program for the "Play at no Cost" program, checks can be mailed to Dave Sutkowski at:

Indiana Chiefs Baseball 7318 Howard Ave. Hammond, IN 46324.

Dave can also be reached via cell phone at 219-616-9754.