Former Texas Rangers baseball principal owner Brad Corbett Sr., who died at 75 last Christmas Eve, will receive a special tribute during next week’s Killebrew-Thompson Memorial golf tournament at Sun Valley Resort.
Cigar-puffing Corbett, a natural salesman from the Bronx who made his fortune and became a master dealmaker in Texas, was only 36 years old when he and other investors purchased the Rangers baseball team in 1974.
His money and influence came from manufacturing plastic pipe through his Fort Worth-based Robintech outfit that worked closely with the oil industry. His passion was baseball from 1974-80 when he owned the Rangers ball club.
Corbett was Steinbrenner-esque as an owner.
In 1977, coincidentally the same year the Thompson Memorial began in Idaho, Corbett fired four managers in an eight-day period and the Rangers still won 94 games. But the club never made the post-season during his tenure as owner.
Because of his involvement in baseball, Corbett hitched his star with the Thompson Memorial in the tournament’s early days as a fund-raiser for leukemia and cancer research.
He became the Chairman of the Board of a tournament that originated from the link between major league baseball players Harmon Killebrew and Danny Thompson.
Tournament director Georgie Fenton of Ketchum said about Corbett, “A kind and thoughtful man with a big heart and a soft spot for the work of this organization, he was without a doubt a major force in its formation and its great success along the way. His love of this event, its causes, its people and most recently the Sun Valley community, will be truly missed.”
Corbett will be honored at next Friday’s auction dinner in the Sun Valley Inn Limelight Room. Another salute will be given to Sun Valley Resort and Sinclair Oil owner Earl Holding, who died April 19 at 86.
Fenton, tournament director for 19 years, expects a full field of 200 golfers for the 37th annual tournament Wednesday, Aug. 21 through Saturday, Aug. 24 on the Sun Valley and Elkhorn golf courses.
The four-day event begins Wednesday with an 8 p.m. benefit concert at Sun Valley Pavilion by Huey Lewis & The News. Fenton said good tickets are still available for the show.
Reserved seating from $54 to $255 (premium) is sold at Sun Valley Recreation Center in Sun Valley Village, online at sunvalley.ticketfly.com or by calling 622-2135. Gates open at 7 p.m. Premium ticket buyers can attend a cocktail reception from 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday on the Pavilion Terrace.
Baseball Hall of Fame slugger Harmon Killebrew, who died in 2011, co-founded the Danny Thompson Memorial golf tournament with business partner Ralph Harding in 1977. It has been held at the Sun Valley resort ever since. And last year it became the Killebrew-Thompson tournament.
Infielder Danny Thompson was a Minnesota Twins teammate of Killebrew. After Thompson died of leukemia in 1976 at 29, Killebrew and Harding founded the tournament to aid leukemia research.
In 36 years, the Killebew-Thompson has raised $12.7 million for cancer research, split between Univ. of Minnesota Cancer Research Center in Minneapolis and St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI) of Boise.
Fundraising totals are leveraged in matching funds and grants to produce a much great number. Fenton said the $12.7 million total over 36 years has been leveraged to nearly $26 million.
Net proceeds for leukemia research from last year’s tournament were $700,000. Since MSTI opened in 1969, it has become Idaho’s largest provider of cancer care services. The Thompson golf tournament has become an integral part of MSTI’s fundraising operation.
Fenton said she’s pleased with the sponsor turnout of 42 companies and groups.
US Bank remains the top-level “Diamond Sponsor.” Sinclair Oil is “Platinum Sponsor.” Sun Valley Resort is “Host Sponsor.” J.R. Simplot Co. and OneWest Bank are “Silver Sponsors.” Apogee Enterprises, Qualcomm and West Coast University are “Premier Sponsors.”
Major League Baseball has returned to a sponsor list that includes local sponsors Barry Peterson Fine Jewelry and Bigwood Bread.
A social and fund-raising highlight will be the 19th annual Killebrew-Thompson Memorial live and silent auction Friday, Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. in the Limelight Room of Sun Valley Inn. Auctioneer is Larry Flynn.
Revealed during next Friday’s dinner will be the 2013 recipient of the Annual Chairman’s Award, first created in 1986 by Corbett to recognize those persons making significant efforts to promote the tournament.
Corbett received the Chairman’s Award himself in 2001 and Killebrew in 2011. Last year’s winner was Chris Berman. The first recipient was Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill (D-Mass.).
Celebrities, politicians due
Football’s Joe Washington and Jerry Kramer, basketball’s Lute Olson and Jack Marin, and baseball’s Brooks Robinson and Bobby Grich are among the sports figures expected for the 2013 Killebrew-Thompson.
Other well-known figures expected are baseball player Jim Nettles; ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman; Idaho musician Muzzie Braun; and John Barrett, host of the long-running outdoors series “Fly Fishing the World,” who once did a fishing segment with musician Huey Lewis.
Here are capsules of celebs:
· Bobby Grich, 64, a Michigan native, came out of Wilson High School in Long Beach, Calif. He played 17 American League seasons for Baltimore and the California Angels from 1970-86 and logged a .266 career batting average in 2,008 games. The 6-2, 190-pounder was a six-time All-Star and four-time Golden Glove winner at second base.
· Returning this year is one of the most popular Killebrew-Thompson celebrities over many years, Brooks Robinson.
Robinson, 76, of Little Rock, Ark., is considered baseball’s all-time greatest third baseman. He was named to the Hall of Fame in 1983 after a matchless 23-year career with the Baltimore Orioles. The affable 6-1, 190-pounder had numerous major league fielding records, including a .971 fielding average, best ever for a third sacker. He batted .267 with 2,848 hits in 2,896 games from 1955-77, all with the Baltimore Orioles.
An 18-time All Star, Robinson won the Golden Glove each year from 1960-75 and was baseball's Most Valuable Player in 1964 with career-best .317 with 28 homers and 118 RBI. He starred on the four-time AL pennant-winning Oriole teams that won World Series titles in 1966 and 1970.
Signed as an 18-year-old second baseman for a $4,000 bonus in 1955, Robinson was asked by manager Paul Richards to fill in for the Orioles third baseman. Robinson went on to play 2,896 regular-season games. Young Manny Machado, the current Orioles third baseman, made a fielding play this season that was compared favorably to a similar stop by Robinson.
· Joe Washington, 59, a native of Crockett, Texas, was a two-time All-American running back at the University of Oklahoma, a program that won national titles in 1974-75 with Washington doing this thing. He had a successful National Football League career and won a Super Bowl title with the Washington Redskins.
· Jerry Kramer, 77, a Montana native and University of Idaho graduate, is considered the best player who hasn’t yet been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The 11-year offensive guard for the Green Bay Packer from 1958-68 and five-time All-Pro pick is the only member of the NFL’s 50th Anniversary Team who is not in the football shrine.
Kramer was the Packers left guard on the Packers team that won three straight NFL championships for legendary coach Vince Lombardi from 1965-67. In his best year Kramer made $28,000, plus championship money.
· Jim Nettles, 66, of San Diego, is the younger brother of New York Yankees third sacker Graig Nettles. Lefty Jim Nettles played for the Minnesota Twins from 1970-72 and ended his six-year major league career with Oakland in 1981.
· Lute Olson, 78, a native North Dakotan and graduate of Minnesota’s Augsburg College, was the 25-year head coach of the University of Arizona men’s basketball program—winning the NCAA Division 1 title in 1997. His career coaching record was 781-280 prior to his retirement in 2008. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.
· One of the best golfers and putters in the Thompson field is Duke basketball All-American Jack Marin, 68, one of the founding fathers of the Celebrity Players Golf Tour.
Marin was a 6-6 forward who graduated from Duke in 1966 and was a 15.0 ppg pro scorer. Marin, who also played for Buffalo and Chicago, was traded by Baltimore to Houston for Elvin Hayes in 1972. He was a two-time NBA All-Star in a career that spanned from 1966-77.
Thompson national politicians due in 2013 are Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Id.); Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Id.); Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (R-Ky.); Sen. Jim Risch (R-Id.); Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah); Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.); Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa); and Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.).
Spectators are welcome
Spectators are invited to watch and, when appropriate, ask for autographs. Check the pairing sheets at the golf pro shops to see where your favorite golfer is playing.
The tournament format is four-person two-best ball over two days. Prizes are awarded to the six lowest scoring teams and to the low individual net and gross scores for men and women. Long drive and closest-to-the-pin prizes are also awarded.
In addition, the 11th annual Arte Johnson “Room for Improvement Award” goes to the next-to-the-last place team. Johnson, 84, a Michigan native, was an actor for 51 years known for his 1968-73 comedy role in the “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” TV show.
Here is the schedule:
Wednesday, Aug. 21: Benefit concert featuring Huey Lewis & The News at 8 p.m., Sun Valley Pavilion. VIP benefit concert cocktail party there at 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 21-22: Registration 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on the Sun Valley Inn Limelight Room terrace and promenade. Practice rounds today and Thursday on the Sun Valley and Elkhorn golf courses.
Thursday, Aug. 22: Western-style welcome barbecue 6 p.m. on the Trail Creek Cabin grounds. Tournament pairings distributed there.
Friday, Aug. 23: First 18-hole round of the Thompson Memorial tournament, with 9 a.m. shotgun starts at Sun Valley and Elkhorn. Ladies luncheon, fashion show and fly fishing demonstration at 11:30 a.m.
Cocktails and auction dinner at 6 p.m. in the Limelight Room of Sun Valley Inn. The 28th annual Chairman’s Award will be revealed.
Saturday, Aug. 24: Final 18-hole round of the Thompson Memorial, with 9 a.m. shotgun starts on the Elkhorn and Sun Valley courses. Awards reception 4 p.m. on the Sun Valley Club deck. Ladies have a nine-hole scramble golf tournament today at 10 a.m. at Bigwood Golf Course.