Gray supporters step up to plate at fundraiser
September 8, 2010 | by G'town Gravyboat
Photo by RJSmithRespected D.C. filmmaker Aviva Kempner (The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, Yoo-hoo, Mrs. Goldberg) and D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh (Ward 3) hosted a movie night at Avalon Theater Tuesday night for mayoral candidate Vincent Gray. The event highlighted the appearance of several legendary baseball greats.
“Vincent has stepped up to the plate,” Cheh said in her introduction of Gray. “Vince definitely has been the central force on the City Council, and that extends to all major pieces of legislation, including education."
“Without Vince, education reform would not have happened,” she said.
Cheh described Gray as a leader “who can deliver” when it comes to uniting the city, making more progress in education, and introducing meaningful legislation to help all residents.
In his talk, Gray noted that he always supported building the baseball stadium, while the current mayor did not when he was a council member. “And I promise I won’t hoard the baseball tickets,” Gray said, in reference to the mayor’s reluctance to share tickets with the City Council.
Vincent, who was scouted by major league baseball in his youth, now plays first base in a recreational league in Washington, and hasn’t missed a game all season. Gray’s several hundred fans at the benefit saw a free screening of Kempner’s award-winning documentary on the legendary Hank Greenberg and munched on free popcorn. Those who donated at the sign-up desk were given baseballs personally autographed by Gray.
In the audience were: Fred Valentine, who played with the Washington Senators and Baltimore Orioles, and currently travels around the country promoting baseball to inner city youth; Mamie “Peanut” Johnson, the second woman and the first female pitcher to play in the Negro Baseball Leagues; and Charles “Chuck” Hinton Jr., who played with the Washington Senators and is vice president of the Major League Players Alumni Association which he helped establish. Hinton was head coach of Howard University ’s baseball team in the 1970s.
Gray noted that the Council which he heads has just passed a bill to rename a D.C. park after “Peanut” Johnson.