GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Illinois will be bustling this Memorial Day Weekend—but it won’t be the Gateway Grizzlies who are playing. May 23-27, 2019 a variety of players will attempt to break their existing Guinness World Record by playing more than 85 consecutive hours of baseball!
The players range in age from 18-62. Although they come from various states across the U.S. and they all have their own diverse backgrounds, they are united by one common goal; raising money and awareness for charity.
Every player who takes the field is leading individual fundraising efforts for Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. In order to participate, each player is expected to reach a minimum fundraising goal. Chuck Williams is one of the organizers of the World Record Baseball Game Benefitting Children’s Hospital.
“I sort of got the ball rolling on this year’s event,” said Williams. “Luckily there are plenty of additional organizers who are more than happy to jump in to help with the event and Children’s Hospital. The event will begin immediately following the Gateway Grizzlies/Evansville Otters game May 23, and the Grizzlies are a wonderful host of the event, helping out with so many details.”
The group of amateur baseball enthusiasts will play one non-stop game for roughly 82 hours, wrapping up around 10am, Monday, May 27.
Jim Rodenbush of Bloomington, Indiana is coming in to be a participant in the game. He is originally from the Greater St. Louis Area and was a journalism major at Webster University.
“It was easy to say yes to the invitation,” he said. “How many can say they’ve been a part of a Guinness World Record attempt? It’s a chance to experience something unique.”
The proceeds from the event will go to help the Siteman Kids Center, the pediatric cancer center for St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
“Chuck Williams and a lot of other people have been working for months on organizing this game and fundraising,” said Rodenbush. “Their efforts should most certainly be recognized. It’s a worthwhile fundraising cause
The game will be Williams’ 11th Guinness World Record attempt, five times he’s been involving in setting the mark for playing the longest baseball game. He also helped organize two marathon basketball games (one in St.Louis, and one in the Philippines), two wiffleball games, and one soccer marathon. These events have raised over one million dollars for charity.
“The charity is always the number one goal,” said Williams who said 100% of the proceeds goes directly to the charities “The record attempt is fun but it’s not the reason why we play the game.”
Rodenbush is looking forward to playing in the game, but since it’s his first year he isn’t sure what he’s gotten himself into.
“Frankly, it’s hard to even imagine what it’s going to be like,” he said. “But I look forward to playing a role in helping Children’s Hospital.”
If you haven’t heard of these games in the past, they are worth finding out about. They are well organized and have raised an incredible amount of money for charities.
“We have players coming from all regions of the U.S., though the bulk of the group is from right here in St. Louis,” said Willians. “We have two players making the drive from Kentucky. One former Independent League Manager flying in from West Virginia. A returning marathon player from 2009, he will be flying in from California. A father and son will be playing together, from Minnesota, and we will have many returning players from Illinois.”
The picture shows Chuck Williams and J.C. Rudden, who is also one of the organizers on a day they were touring Children’s Hospital.
“We got a chance to see where the money raised from this event will go,” said Wiliams. “As we were leaving the room, this little angel comes hustling down the hallway to show her Mom the ‘googly eyes.’ Someone had stuck googly eyes on the animals on a mural on the wall and Veatrice was excited to show her Mom. She was so sweet and playful with tons of energy and an unforgettable, infectious smile.
“Her Mom told us Veatrice just finished a round of chemotherapy and had to cut off the remainder of her hair. You couldn’t tell based upon her positive attitude. We proceeded to the rooftop garden at Children’s where she ran around playing tag, searching for turtles, and stopping briefly and frequently to kiss her Mom. Veatrice lifted us on her shoulders and lifted our hearts to remind us why we do these events.”
How did this all get started? In 2006 Williams was playing baseball in a local adult league, MSBL or Men’s Senior Baseball League. After seeing a news article about a small group in Alliance, Nebraska who set a record for playing the longest baseball game, (30 hours, 5 min), he proposed the idea to some fellow teammates.
“From that point it simply snowballed,” he said. “A lot of these local players also play in out-of-state tournaments. Soon not only did we have the required roster limit of 56 players (two teams of twenty-eight players as stipulated by Guinness World Records).
In 2007 forty amateur baseball players entered the Guinness Book Of World Records by playing that first game that lasted 32 hours, 29 minutes, and 25 seconds. The game went 92 innings with the St. Louis Browns beating the St. Louis Stars 119-81. The effort raised $100,000 for the Gene Slay’s Boys; Club, a St. Louis fixture for 80 years and the first Boys’ Club in Missouri.
In 2009 also at T.R. Hughes Park there was a game that lasted 48 hours, 9 minutes, and 25 seconds and went 133 innings with the Edward Jones’ sponsored St. Louis Browns defeating the Jonny G Foundation St. Louis Cardinals 180-140. Money raised from that effort went to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.
Throughout the years many charities have benefitted from World Record Baseball, with some of the recipients being the Joplin Tornado victims, Operation Food Search and The Mission Continues. They have had different sports at different time including whiffle ball game, soccer, and basketball game.
“Now we have a growing waitlist to get in the game,” said Williams. “Combine that with the fact that there are plenty of amateur athletes who would like to get back into the game. Maybe they played ball in high school, maybe they haven’t played since T-Ball, but they heard about our event and want to play. Finding players to participate has been the easiest task when it came to organizing the longest baseball game ever played.”
The players will be playing and supporters are encouraged to show up and support them in their efforts. Various activities will be happening as the game is being played.
Here is the schedule:
- Friday, May 24 (5-9p) – Movie Night – We will be showing the classic baseball movie “The Sandlot” on the outfield scoreboard. (Concession stands will be open)
- Saturday, May 25 (2-6p) – Family Fun at the Park – kid friendly activities, yard games, music, face painting. (Concession stands will be open)
- Sunday, May 26 (Noon-4p) – Stuff the Stadium – More to come on this as far as giveaways/chances to win prizes, etc. (Concession stands will be open)
How to Donate
To donate on behalf of a specific PLAYER, Go to this webpage and scroll down to find direct links to their page. https://worldrecordbaseball.com/players-%2F-donate
If your interested in making a donation on behalf of one of our UMPIRES, click “The Umpires” link: https://secure2.convio.net/slchf/site/Donation2;jsessionid=00000000.app215a?1580.donation=form1&idb=1510934287&df_id=1580&FR_ID=1121&mfc_pref=T&PROXY_ID=1135850&PROXY_TYPE=20&NONCE_TOKEN=E0CD932ED13F771834469ACA7F209353&cap_id=1008890
If you would like to MAIL your donation, please send it here:
St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation Attn: Becky Belanger
PO Box 955423
St. Louis, MO 63195
Please note World Record Baseball Game on the check and the player your donating on behalf of.