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Vintage baseball showdown, fireworks at Banner Island on 4th

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POSTED June 30, 2012 12:49 a.m.

STOCKTON — Banner Island may be the inspiration of Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s famous poem “Casey at the Bat.”

The Mighty Casey might have struck out for the Mudville Nine on that fateful day of 1888. But Fourth of July in Stockton is expected to be a big hit.

For starters, several Major League Baseball legends will be on hand for a turn-back-the-clock Independence Day event at the Banner Island Ball Park.

Leading off will be Rickey Henderson – who else – in the Legends of Baseball Vintage Showdown.

Regarded as the sport’s greatest leadoff hitter and base runner, Henderson, who is best-known for his days with Oakland Athletics, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.

He’ll be joined by three others from his Hall-of-Fame fraternity.

Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage and Don Sutton – the latter was a starting pitcher while the other two were relief hurlers – are also on tap to play in the vintage game consisting of rules, traditions, and equipment used in 1886.

The game begins at 6 p.m.

But before that, the Legends of Baseball – schedule to participate (roster subject to last-minute change) are Tony Armas, Harold Baines, Vida Blue, Bert Campaneris, Ron Darling, Tommy John, Dave Kingman, Carney Lansford, Blue Moon Odom, F.P. Santangelo, Dave Stewart, Walt Weiss, and Vernon Wells Sr. – will take part in a 2 o’clock youth baseball clinic.

At 4, practice for the former MLB players and Hall-of-Famers begin. Included will be interviews with these baseball greats aired via the public address system.

The day caps off with a traditional Fourth of July fireworks celebration as presented by the Stockton Ports in cooperation with the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel and the Stockton Convention and Visitors Bureau.

This pyrotechnic display and the live band performance will follow the conclusion of the baseball game.

Gates open at 1 p.m. All-day passes for the event is $5 and are now available.

In addition, an All-American all-you-can-eat barbecue buffet (6-8 p.m.) will take place at the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel, 110 W. Fremont St.

Live music provided by the 209 All-Stars begins at 5 o’clock.

Those attending can also take a dip in the hotel swimming pool or play games in the courtyard.

Cost is $25 general admission, $12 for those ages 5 through 12, and free for children under age 5.

— VINCE REMBULAT

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