2023 Whitecaps Winter Gala: A Roaring Success!

On Thursday, February 2, the Grand Rapids Public Museum turned into a speakeasy, complete with guests donning their flapper dresses and glad rags, all for a worthy cause: the youth in West Michigan.

Over 350 guests attended the Whitecaps Winter Gala presented by Eastbrook Homes. With the help of the West Michigan community and sponsors, the Whitecaps Community Foundation raised over $43,000 for the YMCA Ted Rasberry Youth League (TRYL). The TRYL gives approximately 1,200 kids annually a chance to play baseball and softball for free in their own neighborhoods. The money raised supplies equipment and operations necessary to provide Grand Rapids inner-city youth with a safe and reliable area to learn the values of self-esteem, teamwork, self-confidence, and the fundamentals of baseball.

The 1920s-themed party celebrating the golden age of baseball included a strolling dinner, silent and live auctions, and a live band. The “Ricky Rasberry” signature drink (a twist on a classic) paid homage to the son of Grand Rapids Black Sox founder, Ted Rasberry. Mingling, a photo booth, and games provided entertainment before the program kicked off with everyone’s favorite on-field host, emcee Bob Wells. The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids presented their 2022 Players and Coach of the year with plaques and recognized their achievements and dedication to the program.

The Whitecaps added another legend to the Whitecaps Hall of Fame. Pitcher Gregory Soto, who moved from the Detroit Tigers to the Philadelphia Phillies this year, was instrumental in helping the ‘Caps set the Midwest League record with 28 shutouts in the 2017 season. He was named the Tigers 2017 Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

The keynote speaker and Detroit Tigers legend Craig Monroe inspired the crowd with his stories of how baseball shaped his life. Known for his colorful wardrobe and enthusiasm, C. Mo did not disappoint. Monroe acknowledged the mission of the Whitecaps Community Foundation, giving youth in West Michigan an opportunity to play baseball and enriching the lives of families in the community. Monroe currently serves as a Television Analyst for the Detroit Tigers on Bally Sports Detroit.

Funds were raised at this event through sponsorships, ticket sales, silent and live auctions, games, and donations. Donations to the Whitecaps Community Foundation to support the TRYL and other programs can be made here.

The Whitecaps Community Foundation raises a glass to everyone who supported the Whitecaps Winter Gala fundraiser, with a toast to Eastbrook Homes, LMCU, the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, the Detroit Tigers Foundation, and so many more who made this event a roaring success!

About the Whitecaps Community Foundation: The Whitecaps Community Foundation is the nonprofit extension of the West Michigan Whitecaps. The foundation is dedicated to enriching the lives of kids and their families by providing them with access to fun, baseball, team dynamics, leadership, education, and recreational opportunities. With the help and generosity of West Michigan residents and community partners, the Whitecaps Community Foundation continues to make the West Michigan area an inclusive and diverse place for fun, community, and experiences. For more information contact Jenny Garone at JennyG@Whitecapsbaseball.com

About West Michigan Whitecaps: The Whitecaps minor league baseball team was established in 1994. The Whitecaps are the High-A Affiliate of the Detroit Tigers and play in the Eastern Division of the High-A Central League. The team’s home games are played in West Michigan’s favorite, largest, outdoor, multi-purpose venue, LMCU Ballpark. For more information visit whitecapsbaseball.com.