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Bragan Foundation to “Keep Swingin’!”
Legacy of Fort Worth’s “Mr. Baseball” Will Carry On Through Scholarship Program
When local baseball legend and widely proclaimed “Mr. Baseball” Bobby Bragan passed away on January 21, 2010 at the age of 92, his place as the most colorful figure in Fort Worth’s baseball lore had long been assured. And, due to the planning of Bragan and the board of directors of the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation (BBYF), his contribution to the youth of the Fort Worth-Dallas community will continue far into the future.

A long-time professional player, coach, manager, and executive, Bragan established a foundation for the purpose of providing college scholarship funds to deserving eighth graders in 1991. With seed money provided by Bragan and his late wife, Roberta Beckman Bragan, the foundation began by issuing four $2,500 scholarships in 1992. It has grown steadily over the last two decades through fundraising activities and the generosity of local businesses, foundations, and a wide array of Bragan’s friends and family across the country. Today, the foundation, through its perpetual endowment fund, awards 34 scholarships every school year. Since the inception of the foundation a total of 508 scholarships valued at $1,270,000 have been given to deserving metroplex students.

“Our endowment fund is in a position to continue the work of the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation for many years to come,” stated Jim Beckman, stepson of Bobby Bragan and the original president of the foundation’s board of directors. “It is our hope that individuals, businesses, and foundations will continue to honor Bobby’s legacy, allowing our endowment fund to issue even more scholarships in Bobby’s name.”
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Bobby Bragan: A life remembered
Bobby Bragan - a man whose love for baseball was overshadowed only by his love of God and his fellow man - died Jan. 21, 2010 at his Fort Worth home at the age of 92.

Bragan was born and raised in Birmingham and began his professional baseball career in the Alabama-Florida League with Panama City in 1937. Bragan came up as a shortstop and played for the Phillies from 1940-1942.  In 1942, the team was strapped for catching help because of injuries and military call-ups, and Bobby offered to learn the job.

Dodger general manager Branch Rickey liked the youngster’s dedication and obtained Bragan in a trade for Tex Kraus. He was a backup catcher for the Dodgers during the next two seasons. After spending two years in the military as a 2nd Lieutenant, Infantry, Bragan returned in time for the 1947 season. The Dodgers would play the New York Yankees that year in the World Series and Bobby recorded a pinch-hit double as the Yankees beat the Dodgers 4-games-to-3. That would be his only at bat in World Series play. He joined a select list of players who had a 1.000 batting average in the fall classic.

Bragan was without a doubt one of the most unique and colorful characters who ever wore a Cats’ uniform. He did so as the player/manager of the Cats from 1948-1952 and Fort Worth was never the same.

Click "Read More" for more on Bobby's life and how baseball remembered one of its most beloved storytellers.

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Bobby’s Designated Hitters Campaign Off to a Great Start
Several donors have already signed up to be one of Bobby’s Designated Hitters for 2010. For a donation of $1,000 a Designated Hitter has the satisfaction of knowing that they are providing significant, affordable support to the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation, ensuring that deserving 8th graders will receive the recognition and encouragement they need to excel throughout high school, graduate, and go on to college.

2010 Designated Hitters also receive a commemorative pin, and are invited to a cocktail celebration to be held in April at Del Frisco’s, Fort Worth’s finest steakhouse. For every $10,000 raised through this campaign, an additional scholarship will be awarded to a deserving 8th grade student at the annual BBYF Scholarship Celebration in the name of “Bobby’s Designated Hitters”!

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Watch Bragan recite famous Casey at the Bat poem
Anyone who has had the pleasure of hearing Bobby Bragan speak through the years has probably experienced the joy of watching him recite Ernest Lawrence Thayer's famous poem "Casey at the Bat". If you haven't, here's your chance.

Click here to view Bobby Bragan reciting "Casey at the Bat". Thanks to Brown Cooper for his great work on this video.
 
Jim "The Rookie" Morris honored at BBYF Gala
Jim Morris -- baseball's oldest rookie, who defied all odds to make his major league debut at age 35 and was the subject of the 2002 Disney film "The Rookie" -- was honored at the 2009 Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award Gala on Oct. 30 at the new Omni Fort Worth Hotel. 

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Morris's big league debut, which occurred in 1999 against the Texas Rangers at The Ballpark in Arlington.

View photos from the 2009 Gala
 
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