For Jack Borkey, Sr., it was the dream of a lifetime: Digging in the batter's box to face his boyhood idol, Cleveland Indians' Hall-of-Famer Bob Feller.
Dreams sometimes do come true, as the CEO of Professional Electrical Products, Inc. (PEPCO), Eastlake, Ohio, found out at the Cleveland Indians' Fantasy Camp earlier this year. Borkey stroked a single against Feller, just one of the hits he got at the camp in Winter Haven, Fla. He batted over .400, pitched two scoreless innings, played second base and went two-for-three with the bases loaded, with three RBIs and a double. Borkey won the camp's Most Valuable Player honors for his play, but he isn't ready to quit his day job just yet.
Operated by Rick Manning, a former Cleveland Indians' centerfielder and now an announcer for the team, the week-long camp is held at the Indians' spring training facility, which features five major-league-quality playing fields. The 119 men and one woman played double headers every day, and had a tournament on the last day of the fantasy camp.
Borkey, an Indians' season-ticket holder and lifelong fan, suffered through the Tribe's lean losing seasons for many years, but says it has made the team's recent success sweeter for him and his family, all die-hard baseball fans. He played softball regularly up until he was 51, and at one time he and his four sons played on the same team for Sunday doubleheaders. Joining him at this year's camp was another PEPCO employee, Howie Price. Price is a scrappy catcher now spending some of this off season breaking in the new catcher's mitt of Sandy Alomar, Jr., the Indians starting catcher.
Along with playing ball at the fantasy camp with former Indians and other major-league ball players such as Len Barker, Joe Charboneau, Jim "Mudcat" Grant, Brook Jacoby, Rick Manning and Jeff Torberg, Borkey loved talking baseball with the players and hearing about their many madcap antics as major-leaguers. According to the back of Borkey's baseball card pictured here, the dream will continue. He will be back at the fantasy camp again next year, and is already thinking about getting in shape.