Who knows when the trend began? Your scribe, though, remembers attending "Old Timers' " baseball games at Yankee Stadium (complete with Joe DiMaggio) back in the 1960s.
And, now, it has come to the MAAC. At Siena they're calling it a "Legends Game." At Niagara, they're bringing back former players to be on the court during that program's inaugural alumni weekend.
Whatever you call it, nostalgia now helps fuel fund-raising, which is the primary reason these two schools (they're the ones we noticed so far) are bringing back former players.
Siena's first-ever Legends Game will take place on Thursday, July 19 at the on-campus Alumni Recreation Center.
Players who have confirmed their appearance at the event include Marc Brown, Dwayne Archbold, Marus Faison, Tay Fisher, Alex Franklin, Michael Haddix, Kenny Hasbrouck, Tom Huerter, Clarence Jackson, Antoine Jordan, Prosper Karangwa, Scott Knapp, Steve McCoy, Tommy Mitchell, Ronald Moore, Ryan Rossiter, Edwin Ubiles and Geoff Walker.
Tickets are priced at $12 for adults and $7 for children 12 and under and can be purchased on line at the Siena website (www.sienasaints.com). All proceeds from the game will go toward "Saints Alive!" the athletic department's annual giving program. The event tips off at 5 p.m. with a pre-game meet and great, a variety of skills' competitions will take place at 6 p.m. with the featured game to be at 7 p.m.
Niagara's first basketball alumni weekend will take place June 22 and 23 on the school's campus.
The weekend will feature activities including clinics, autograph signings, contests and will offer a commemorative program. A number of alums from the program, which began play in 1906, will be returning to Monteagle Ridge, including Naismith Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy.
"Maybe this should be called `Family Weekend,' " said current men's basketball coach Joe Mihalich, in a release issued by the school. "I know the word family is used loosely, but this will be more like a family reunion. We all grew to loe Niagara, our teammates and our NU experience."
Festivities begin on June 22 with a family cookout from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. On June 23 events begin with the Calvin Murphy instructional clinic from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the on-campus Gallagher Center. Murphy will run the camp for boys and girls from 8 to 16 years of age. There is a $5 registration fee and all participants will receive a T-shirt.
A luncheon featuring Murphy will be at the Como Restaurant in Niagara Falls from noon-to-2 p.m. Tickets for that event, priced at $20, can be purchased through the school or for $25 at the door.
The main event will be games played at the Gallagher Center, including an Old Timers' game, and a Mihalich Era game.
The Old Timers' game not only will featured former from Niagara against their contemporaries from Buffalo State, Canisius and St. Bonaventure. The Mihalich Era game will feature alums who played from 1999 through 2012. The Old Timers' game will start at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Mihalich Era game. Admission to the games is $5, and a post-game autograph session and reception will finish off the night.
Information on purchasing tickets for any of the events can be obtained by calling men's director of basketball operations Colin Curtin at 716-286-8605.