Auburn, Ala.--Auburn baseball fans wanting a weekend to remember will have that chance coming up Nov. 11-13 with the inaugural Legends of the Plains Fantasy Camp coming to Plainsman Park.
Former Auburn baseball standouts Tim Hudson, Gabe Gross, Scott Sullivan, Jay Waggoner and legendary head coach Hal Baird will be among the guests at the event along with current head coach Butch Thompson.
Wanting fans to understand the history of the program is something that has been on Thompson’s mind since he arrived back at Auburn. With some of the top players and coaches in Auburn history on board for the event, he said it’s the perfect opportunity to showcase what the program is all about while honoring the past.
“One of the first things when I got here, we’re going to embrace our tradition because we’ve got a pretty special one,” Thompson said. “Reconnecting to our tradition has been a huge foundational piece and this is a great way to do it. Hopefully, year by year we can build on it. We’ve got so many legends, so many people to bring back into the fold to do a good job with and share with our Auburn family that ‘we’re going to do that.
“With our current team, I think it’s important for our student-athletes now to continue to get a history lesson on how great our program has been through the years. Even with our campers, our youth, it’s important to keep building for the future. I see it as the past, the present and the future, it’s a way to connect and this legend’s camp is a great way to get started with it.”
While Thompson is a key part of the event, having Baird around for the weekend will be a special treat for the campers. The winningest coach in program history and a man who took the Tigers to a pair of College World Series, Baird said he’s honored to be part of the festivities and can’t wait for the weekend because it’s a way to celebrate, but also to continue the process of building the program back to where it once was.
“I think it can be critically important,” Baird said of using the weekend as another stepping stone. “I have always been impressed with just the absolute dedication the players in the past have for the program and their desire that the program continue to do well. I have met players that played here in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s and they all considered it one of the highlights of their life.
“I think Butch is exactly right and to me that’s really what defines tradition,” he added. “That’s when you tie the present to the past in the hope of what’s to come. The time seems to be to be just right with the new coaching staff. I haven’t had any input into the planning, but I’m certainly excited to have a part in it. I know there will be a lot of the players that played during my 16 years so that will be fun.”
Auburn legends will take part in all aspects of the weekend as participants will get to learn from the best, interact with fan favorites and attend exclusive camp-only events. Legends of the Plains is open to adults age 21 and older. The cost is $2,500 per participant (Early Bird Special: $1,999 by October 28). Additional charge of $150 for golf and $250 for lodging.
Camp activities include Friday golf outing with Auburn baseball legends with dinner and social to follow at Kenteska Plantation, Tim Hudson’s family farm.
Saturday begins with “Legends Tales” breakfast featuring a panel of former Auburn stars for a Q&A session. Later that morning will be a behind the scenes seminar with Thompson giving his thoughts on the team, his staff, the season and more.
Former Auburn pitcher and outfielder Tim Hudson helped the Tigers to the 1997 College World Series. He also won 222 games in his 17 year major league career.
On Saturday afternoon the participants will suit up and step on the field for instruction and demonstration with Auburn legends. There will also be a viewing party for the Auburn-Georgia football game. All participants will receive a gift pack and a personalized Auburn Legends Fantasy camp baseball card pack.
Thompson said it’s an event and a weekend that he can’t wait to be part of and he hopes it’s one that people will enjoy.
“It’s just the fellowship number one,” Thompson said. “Just to go hang out and Tim’s place, I can’t think of a man that loves Auburn any more. This is an example of him proving it, just to basically open up his farm to the people that choose to come to this camp is special.
“I think the thing I’m most looking forward to is Saturday morning to hear Hal Baird and Jay Waggoner and Scott and Gabe and Tim just sit around and talk about their experiences here,” he added. “I just think if I came to that camp, I know I’m looking forward to it as the head coach. Just hearing those stories makes it so special and talking the game, talking about what they went through and what Auburn means to them, I think that’s one of the neatest features of this whole camp.”