CPD, CFD Take Part In 20th Annual Charity Baseball Game

Jim Gudas
July 17, 2019 - 8:34 am
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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Chicago Police and Fire Department baseball teams squared off Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field in their 20th annual charity game to raise money for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and the Chicago Fire Gold Badge Society, which provide assistance to the families of fallen first responders.

The game was played in front of a raucous crowd of family members, friends and supporters of both the fire and police department. The crowd largely filled the lower deck of Guaranteed Rate Field from just beyond first base to just beyond third base.



Both teams were fully decked out in traditional baseball uniforms. The police team was nicknamed the "Finest," while the fire department team called themselves the "Bravest."

The game has come a long way from the first contest in 1999 when the fire department team manager Lieutenant Tony Budvaitis said the teams met on a field in a city park. He said the game later moved to a field at the University of Illinois-Chicago, before finally moving to the home of the White Sox.

CPD, CFD Take Part In 20th Annual Charity Baseball Game
WBBM Newsradio/Jim Gudas

"We started off as just kind of like a rivalry, playing at UIC and the next thing you know we are playing at Sox park," he said.

Budvaitis said for his players, and for the police team, the chance to play on a major league baseball field in front of a large and supportive crowd is a dream come true.

"We don't ever get this," Budvaitis said. 

He said the city fields the fire department team usually plays on, balls are likely to hit divots in the grass, as well as an occasional bottle.

CPD, CFD Take Part In 20th Annual Charity Baseball Game
WBBM Newsradio/Jim Gudas

Officer Kyle Murphy is a pitcher for the police team.

"It's cool to say that you were on the same field as some of the Sox greats," Murphy said.

He said he can’t believe the crowd that pretty much fills the lower deck at The Rate.

"It's a great day, and to have all your friends, family, and people supporting first responders for a change is a really nice thing," he said.

CPD, CFD Take Part In 20th Annual Charity Baseball Game
WBBM Newsradio/Jim Gudas


Budvaitis said everyone who participates or watches the game is a winner, as are the two charities the teams raise money for -  the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and the Chicago Fire Gold Badge Society.

But, the big winner on the field though was the police team, which handily beat the fire department 21-4.