Will nine be Rick Rhoden's lucky victory number come Sunday, July 21, 2013? Many would say, "count on it!"
A perennial American Century Championship favorite at Lake Tahoe, the two-time Major League All-Star pitcher has won the tournament eight times: 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2008 and 2009. He's finished second five times and third time twice, for a total of 21 top-10 or better finishes in the tournament including the 8 wins.
So it is only fitting that this career baseball pitcher turned his attention to golf, having built a swing that is as graceful in its follow through as his wind-ups were when he pitched in the Big Leagues.
Rhoden played for the 1977 and 1978 National League Champion Los Angeles Dodgers and also played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees and Houston Astros. In 413 career games, Rhoden compiled a 151-125 record, a 3.59 ERA, 1,419 strikeouts, and one save. He also was one of the best hitting pitchers the game has seen with a career batting average of .238 with nine home runs and 75 RBI.
Former NHL center and five-time American Century Championship winner Dan Quinn is always in Rhoden's rearview mirror as are three-time winner Billy Joe Tolliver and two-time winner Jack Wagner. Actor Wagner is the only non-professional athlete to have won the event.
Rhoden will again compete this year at the 24th annual tournament at Edgewood Tahoe, July 16-21, 2013. A powerhouse lineup of sports legends including Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Oscar de la Hoya and Bodie Miller will join celebrities like Ray Romano and Jack Wagner for the 24th annual tournament.
With an impressive field that highlights notable returning players and newcomers, the American Century Championship remains the longest-running and most prominent of celebrity golf tournaments.
Early commitments have been received for the championship include Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin, Olympic gold medalist skier Bode Miller, NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin, NHL Hall of Famer Brett Hull, NHL All-Star goalie Martin Brodeur, New York Knicks basketball point guard Jason Kidd and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry.
First-timers this year include NFL Hall of Famer John Randle; former NFL Pro-Bowl wide receiver Andre Reed; former NBA All-Star Detlef Schrempf and Former MLB All-Star Tim Wakefield.