OLATHE, Kan. — Some of Kansas City’s greats traded in their bats and footballs for golf clubs Monday at the annual Royals Charities Celebrity Golf Tournament.
Kansas City Royals and Chiefs alumni teamed up on the links to benefit a good cause: Operation Breakthrough. The nonprofit aims to provide a safe environment for children and families in poverty.
This year, they aimed to raise $150,000 for Operation Breakthrough — and succeeded.
Former Royals first baseman and designated hitter Billy Butler said giving back to Kansas City hits close to home.
“You don’t realize how many people are in need,” he said. “I have kids of my own now, and you’re wanting to teach them to give back. It’s such a vital part of their growth.”
Butler said it feels good to support a great organization and see former teammates.
“The jokes never stop; the good times never stop,” he said.
The chemistry and the competitive nature was still there, even if they were left searching for a few balls.
“They told me I couldn’t hit it in the water on the last hole,” Butler said. “Every baseball player, every sports player who gets told they can’t do it — we’re going to go do it.”
It was newly retired Royals outfielder Alex Gordon’s first time in the tournament.
“Now that I really have nothing to do and I’m retired, it’s fun to get out here with the fans and the community,” Gordon said. “I have three kids, and we’re just pouring it all in this community. So to do something for Operation Breakthrough and the community of Kansas City, it means a lot to myself and my family.”
Besides retirement, another change for Gordon: He swings the golf club right-handed unlike his typical left-handed batting during his big league days.
While their team chased birdies for charity, they said the day deserves a hole-in-one.
“Made a couple birdies here and there,” Gordon said. “I don’t think we’re going to win by any means, but we’re going to have a lot of fun.”