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"Spaceman" Lee to Pitch at a Fundraiser

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (Sept. 12) - Local residents will have the chance to save a life and meet a former major league pitcher as part of the bargain. The State University of New York College at Plattsburgh will bring them that chance.

Former All-Star starter Bill "Spaceman" Lee will be coming to SUNY Plattsburgh on Sunday, Sept. 28, to pitch a 1 p.m. charity game involving the college's student-athletes, coaches and faculty members. All proceeds from the game will be sent directly to Nothing But Nets, an international foundation combating the epidemic spread of malaria in impoverished African nations. 

Noted during his playing days for eccentric behavior - including his claim that putting marijuana on his buckwheat pancakes resulted in better pitching performances - Lee pitched for 13 years with the Boston Red Sox and the Montreal Expos. A member of the 1973 All-Star team and winner of at least 17 games each season from 1973-75, Lee became a household name after starting two games in the 1975 World Series against Cincinnati. 

In February 2008, the Red Sox announced that Lee will be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame on Nov. 7. Today, Lee, age 62, lives in a Craftsbury, Vt., farmhouse, but spends most of his days on the road, promoting his four books and two films and pitching barnstorming games for charitable causes.

Nothing But Nets began when Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly wrote a May 5, 2006, article calling on readers to fight malaria - a disease which kills more than 3,000 African children per day. He asked them to donate $10 to purchase insecticide-treated bed-nets. Since then, Nothing But Nets has delivered more than 23 million nets to African families and educated them on proper usage of the nets, which prevent malaria-carrying mosquitoes from biting the families while they sleep at night, the most common time of day for malaria to be transmitted. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies have proven that the nets are virtually guaranteed to save a life - for only a $10 donation. Every dollar donated to Nothing But Nets is matched by an equal contribution from the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, so two lives are actually saved with one $10 donation.

The game, which will be staffed with volunteers from the college's athletic department and its Student Service Corps, will be played at Chip Cummings Field, located behind the Field House on Rugar Street. Pre-game festivities, featuring the college's Cardinalette Kickline, begin at 12:30 p.m., with SUNY Plattsburgh President Dr. John Ettling throwing the ceremonial first pitch right before Bill Lee and the two teams take the field for a 1 p.m. start. Admission to the game is $10 per person, enough money to buy a life-saving bed-net with each ticket purchased.

Following the game, Lee will remain on the field for an autograph/photo session with his fans. Interested spectators can get an autograph or photo from "Spaceman" for an additional donation to Nothing But Nets of any amount they chose to contribute.

At 5 p.m., the day's events conclude with a reception at President Ettling - can enjoy a spread of hors d'oeuvres, receive a special personalized game-day souvenir, and have a more private, personal audience with one of major league baseball's most colorful characters.

For more information about the game, contact 518-563-1744, 518-564-4136, or 518-564-4830, or send an e-mail to [email protected]. Advance reservations are encouraged for these events and can be made through phone or e-mail.

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