The 2019 Larry A. Pogofsky Chicago All-Star Challenge benefiting the Gastro-Intestinal Research Foundation was a huge success and hosted at a beautiful new venue, Impact Field in Rosemont! Before the big game kicked off on Saturday, September 14th, a VIP pre-party was thrown at Bub City on Friday night for all the athletes, family, friends and sponsors to get together as many of them are long time friends from the baseball community. The party was exclusive but still had over 250 people in attendance. Throughout the night guests enjoyed a delicious dinner buffet, open bar, and got to bid on over 40 amazing items in the silent auction that was full of rare sports memorabilia, sporting tickets, trips, customized sneakers and more! There were also three opportunities to go home with a fantastic raffle prize, with the grand prize being a 4-day / 3-night trip to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas! Overall, the VIP pre-party was an excellent way to kick off the weekend and the players were excited to show off their skills for the fans the following morning!
The big event of the weekend started off on a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning with the kids clinic hosted by Mike Huff and The Chicago White Sox Academy. Over 100 kids got to participate in different activities on the filed led by White Sox Youth Coaches, and former players from the Cubs, Sox, Bears, and Hawks. Fans anxiously lined up outside the gates all morning waiting to get the best seat in the house to watch the Home Run Derby which followed the kids clinic. Six “big hitters” competed in the Home Run Derby presented by Rivers Casino with Joe Crede being crowned the champion!
Next up was the highly anticipated celebrity softball game with thirty of Chicago’s biggest baseball (and hockey and football) legends who participated including Jermaine Dye, Ozzie Guillen, Carlos Zambrano, Fergie Jenkins, Lance Briggs and more! The stands were filled with baseball fans across the board and VIP ticket holders got to meet some of their idols at the post-game BBQ, presented by Cameo, where players took pictures and signed autographs. This event helped the Gastro-Intestinal Research Foundation raise over $145,000!
Larry A. Pogofsky, one of the original White Sox investors, was a die-hard baseball fan who loved and respected every player that had the privilege to put on a major league uniform. Mr. Pogofsky was also passionate about healthcare and research thanks to a life-changing experience at the University of Chicago. He was a long-standing board member and former president of GIRF which supports research at the University of Chicago that advances treatments, cures and, ultimately, prevention of digestive disease.
The GI Research Foundation (GIRF) is a non-profit 501(c)3 dedicated to raise funds to support the physicians and scientists at the University of Chicago Medicine Digestive Diseases Center in their efforts to provide outstanding care, train future leaders and perform innovative clinical and laboratory research in order to treat, cure, and prevent digestive diseases. For more information please visit: https://giresearchfoundation.org/