Iconic slugger Reggie Jackson is scheduled to appear at Bret Harte's first home game of the 2013 baseball season March 20 to honor a Bullfrog player and his sister, who were both slain by their father in a murder-suicide earlier this year.
Jackson, also known by the nickname "Mr. October" for his clutch postseason play, will wear Alex Marshall's jersey, No. 15, and sit in place of the fallen student-athlete in the Bret Harte dugout for the duration of the game.
He will also be on-hand to talk with players and fans at the special opening day event intended to raise money for a scholarship fund in the names of Alex and his sister, Macaila, as well as serve as a token of appreciation to a community that has helped surviving family members cope with the tragedy.
"I think it's going to give back to the community that gave to me," said Sean Plummer, mother of Alex and Macaila.
The event, dubbed "Play It Forward," will be set to the theme of a traditional day at the ballpark, complete with concessionaires traversing the bleachers selling snacks and other goods.
The cost of the event, scheduled to start at 4 p.m., is $5 per person and $5 for parking in the lot adjacent to the field. Plummer's friends have also donated various items including cosmetic gift baskets, gift certificates and more for raffles that will be held throughout the afternoon.
Alex and Macaila were shot and killed by their father, Philip Marshall, at their family home in Murphys before he turned the gun on himself sometime around Jan. 31.
Macaila, 14, was a freshman at Bret Harte and Alex, 17, a junior who played last season for the junior varsity baseball and varsity football teams.
Alex's teammates still carry his jersey to each practice and game and hang it up in the dugout above the spot where he would sit, said Plummer.
"What these kids have done is more than phenomenal," said Plummer. "I was in Turkey when it all happened and they basically had everything done for me by the time I got here. They have all been in my life and we are all sort of taking care of each other."
Plummer has been good friends with Jackson since meeting him through a mutual friend about 30 years ago, unaware at the time of his status as one of the greatest baseball players in history. She said they've remained close over the years and he is the godfather of her eldest daughter.
"He's a really good guy," Plummer said of Jackson, a 14-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion who currently serves as a special advisor to the Yankees. "I think a lot of people know him just from sports, but he's just been somebody I go to as a mentor."
More information, including a list of raffle items and other activities that have yet to be finalized, will be announced in the days leading up to the event, Plummer said.