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Community

Established 12 years ago, HOOKS HELP is the mechanism for non-profit fundraising at Whataburger Field. HOOKS HELP revolves around the desire to serve the Coastal Bend and beyond with initiatives designed to support youth, education, and charity.


HURRICANE HARVEY RELIEF has been the chief focus of HOOKS HELP ever since the devastating Category 4 storm made landfall near Rockport, Texas, on Friday, August 25, 2017. Courtesy of the #CoastalBendStrong campaign and Minor League Baseball, the Hooks distributed $113,000 to Little League and youth programs in Rockport, Port Aransas, Refugio, Ingleside, and Aransas Pass. These donations aided the funding of scholarships, new scoreboards, and a spring break camp hosted by the Port Aransas Parks and Recreation Department.

In addition to cash donations at Whataburger Field, money was raised online at YouCaring.com/CoastalBendStrong. The Hooks earmarked a portion of the proceeds from their final homestand for the cause. During the Labor Day weekend series, fans were offered free parking and "Pay What You Can" seating. Hooks players dedicated their season-long home run dollar earnings to the recovery effort. An autographed Corpus Christi game-worn jersey auction, and the sale of Coastal Bend Strong t-shirts contributed to the campaign. Ainsworth Trucking also assisted in the collection of critical supplies. During the offseason, Hooks front-office staffers volunteered in Aransas Pass, Port Aransas, and Rockport, clearing downed trees and debris.

Teams across Minor League Baseball rallied to raise over $300,000 in the aftermath of Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Funds went to the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group and other relief organizations, including the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and United Way Worldwide.

GET HOOKED ON READING is the Hooks' oldest community initiative and is sponsored by Flint Hills Resources. The program encourages children in Grades 1-8 to read during the summer months. Hooks tickets and a pregame parade around the Whataburger Field warning track are the rewards.

HOOKS HONOR ROLL is also sponsored by Flint Hills. A & B students in Grades 9-12 are provided with complimentary Hooks tickets.

Over the last 12 seasons, 652 teams have enjoyed the youth league diamond, located just beyond the Whataburger Field batter's eye. This regulation field is part of the DRISCOLL HEALTH PLAN KIDS ZONE, a comprehensive youth recreation area.

WHATABURGER YOUTH SPORTS DAYS enable youth baseball participants to attend April and May Sunday games free of charge. Just over 14,000 tickets were distributed to eight different organizations from 2014-2017.

The SOUTH TEXAS WINTER BASEBALL BANQUET is an annual function celebrating South Texas Baseball each January. The event honors area high school, college, and professional players and the top Hooks pitcher and position player from the previous season. A Lifetime Achievement Award winner is also recognized. The banquet consistently draws between 500 and 700; attendance on January 18, 2017, was 515.

The banquet is sponsored by iHeartMEDIA.

Through HOOKS HELP, sponsors partner with the ball club to generate funds for local non-profits and deserving youth. RUDY'S PRIZE WHEEL (Rudy's Bar-B-Q), and the SWING FOR SUCCESS SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM (Mrs Baird's) are examples of HOOKS HELP thrusts. Rudy's Prize Wheel benefits the Wounded Warrior Project; Mrs Baird's helps college-bound former student-athletes from Corpus Christi-area high schools with financial aid.

Under HOOKS HELP and the GOODWILL T-SHIRT EXCHANGE PROGRAM, fans turn in gently-used clothing at the Hook, Line & Sinker team store and receive a new, free T-shirt, plus a Goodwill Zone rocking chair voucher. Goodwill Industries puts the apparel on sale in its stores. The program is extended to monthly Friday local Whataburger lunchtime remote broadcasts, with KFTX providing coverage.

HOOKS HELP also disburses funds to non-profits from theme-night jersey auctions.

Hooks players make numerous visits to Driscoll Children's Hospital, and the team hosts a Driscoll patient as its "Player of the Day" five times each season.

The club regularly donates raffle and auction items to area sports leagues, schools, and community organizations.

In all, the Hooks reported $313,291 of contributions to Minor League Baseball for 2017. This included walks, in-kind donations, monetary donations, and ticket fundraisers. Donation recipients for the calendar 2017 year numbered 287.

The Hooks regularly host Awareness Night fundraisers for non-profits in conjunction with home games.

PROMOTING AMATEUR BASEBALL Since 2006, Whataburger Field has hosted 159 high school games. Over the last 12 years, the Hooks have partnered with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to present the Kleberg Bank College Classic. That event draws some of the nation's top major college teams. Past participants include Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Houston, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Rice, Sam Houston State, TCU, Texas State, and UCLA.

REMEMBERING HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT TEAMS As the game's steward at the local level, the Hooks recognized the 1965 Solomon Coles High School state championship team on June 4, 2015. The Coles Green Hornets were Corpus Christi's first state baseball champions while playing in the segregated Prairie View Interscholastic League. Fifty years to the day of their triumph over Gilmer Valley View, eight team members were introduced to 4,986 fans before the Hooks-Northwest Arkansas game June 4. They autographed team posters presented to all fans and were awarded championship rings. King High School captured Corpus Christi's first UIL state title (Class 4A) on June 9, 1967, vs. Abilene Cooper. Last season, team members from that historic Mustangs squad were recognized before 5,361 fans on June 24. The 1988-89 Sinton Pirates, who won back-to-back Class 3A championships, will be honored at Whataburger Field this summer.

HOOKS HISTORY The Corpus Christi Hooks, owned by their parent club Houston Astros, launched during the 2005 season. From 2005-2013, the Hooks were part of Ryan-Sanders Baseball and a sister club of the Triple-A Round Rock Express. Express and Hooks founder Reid Ryan, son of Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, left his post as CEO of Ryan-Sanders Baseball in May of 2013 to become Houston Astros President of Business Operations.

A 2012 extension of the Whataburger Field lease with the City of Corpus Christi from the original 15-year span (2005-2019) to 30 years (2005-2034) underscores the stability of the franchise. Astros owner Jim Crane's purchase of the Hooks assured a continuing long-term affiliation between Houston and Corpus Christi, a prominent Colt .45s/Astros out market for 43 years before affiliated Double-A Texas League Baseball returned for the first time in 46 seasons (San Francisco 1958-59).

The Hooks drew 331,242 in 2017 over 67 dates, an average of 4,944. Their total 13-season attendance is 5,102,619 (392,509).

In 2006, the Hooks captured Corpus Christi's first Texas League championship since 1958. Under the direction of former managers Keith Bodie and Rodney Linares, the Hooks have qualified for the Texas League playoffs in four of the last six seasons.

TEAM APPEARANCES Hooks players and front-office staffers are available to speak to your group. To arrange for a guest speaker or an appearance by team mascots Rusty Hook and/or Sammy Seagull, contact Courtney Merritt at 361-561-4683. Hooks players and field staff members generally do not live in Corpus Christi during the off-season.

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