When disaster strikes, a game of baseball becomes meaningless, but the players and coaches have the ability to come together and impact those in need.
In an effort to help tornado victims, the Peoria Chiefs are hosting an online auction and a donation drive. All of the proceeds will go to residents of the central Illinois towns who were affected by the recent storms.
"The response on the auction front has been outstanding," said Chiefs director of media relations and baseball operations Nathan Baliva.
Items up for auction range from a baseball signed by Hall of Famer Stan Musial to an unopened American Girl Doll. Players from the Cardinals, Cubs and other Illinois professional teams, along with former Chiefs players, continue to donate more items to the auction, as it will stay open indefinitely. Local businesses and Minor League teams are also contributing to the auctions.
The Chiefs are the Class A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. They previously served as the Chicago Cubs' affiliate in the Midwest League.
"Every former player I've contacted has just said, 'What do you need and where do I send it?' It has been remarkable; they all want to help any way they can," Baliva said. "The response from other teams both in the Midwest League and across Cardinals and Cubs affiliations has been overwhelming and we are very appreciative."
The Chiefs had asked for donations of bottled water, toiletries and other necessities for those who have been affected by the storms. However, with limited space at shelters and storage facilities and overwhelming efforts by the community, the Chiefs are no longer asking for those items.
Anyone interested in making auction or monetary donations can call Baliva at (309) 680-4018 or [email protected]
Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan.