BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT)- A large crowd gathered at Regions Field Sunday evening, but it wasn’t to see the Barons play. Former Major League pitcher Chris Hammond was hosting a kick-off gala and silent auction to raise funds for his foundation. “We try to help underprivileged kids face what life has to hold for them,” said Hammond. “I truly believe if a kid participates in some form of athletics, the virtues and the characteristics that you learn from that help them face what our world holds for them.”
“It’s not about me. it’s about helping and serving whoever needs help.”
Hammond got a little help himself from one of his former managers. Hall-of-Famer and former Atlanta Braves skipper Bobby Cox was the keynote speaker at the gala. “Chris is a big time Christian kid. The nicest guy I’ve ever seen, one of the best competitors I’ve ever seen,” said Cox. “You just knew when he retired that he would do something like this to give back. It’s my honor and pleasure and I’m just overwhelmed to be part of it for Hammy.”
Cox agreed with Hammonds views on the benefits of athletics in children’s lives. “Discipline, being a competitor, being willing to give back after you’ve been successful. I think it definitely makes you a better person,” said Cox. “It wasn’t easy for Chris, it wasn’t easy for me, honestly.”
“We both became pretty darn good at what we do.”
If Hammond has a talent other than pitching, it’s getting people to jump on board for a good cause. Former teammates Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Brian Jordan have all played in the Chris Hammond Youth Foundation Golf Tournament during the events ten year history. Just because the former aces of the Braves staff come to play, doesn’t mean Hammond will be playing with them. “I’m not going to get out on a golf course with Smoltz, Maddux, or Glavine because they don’t have fun. That’s how competitive they are, and I’ve heard too many stories about how competitive they really are,” said Hammond with a laugh. “I’m not gonna get out there.”
The 2015 golf tournament tees off Monday, June 8th at Greystone Country Club. For more information on the Chris Hammond Youth Foundation, click here .