Star pitcher auctions items as Giants trophies visit Atwater

mnorth@mercedsunstar.comFebruary 20, 2013 

— The city's link to Giants' pitcher Sergio Romo was a boon for the local Junior Giants Program on Wednesday.

The San Francisco Giants' 2010 and 2012 World Championship trophies were at the Atwater Community Center, and that event was followed by a live auction that featured personal memorabilia donated by Romo.

During the auction, the items Romo donated garnered $3,550, which will go toward the Atwater Junior Giants.

Sergio Romo's signed World Series locker nameplate sold for $350, while a champagne bottle used in the post-game celebration and signed by Romo auctioned for $180. A baseball signed by most of the Giants team fetched $1,400.

Romo's aunt, Sonia Romo, has children in the Atwater Junior Giants program. While organizers were preparing to host the trophies, she contacted her nephew, and he was happy to help out.

Atwater was eligible for a stop on the trophy tour because the city participates in the Junior Giants program, which is a free, noncompetitive baseball program for 5- to 18-year-old boys and girls. It's funded through the Giants Community Fund.

Mayor Joan Faul credited Atwater Junior Giants volunteers for getting the trophies to Atwater and raising money for the local program.

The Junior Giants program, which promotes health, education and teamwork, is a resource that makes a difference in the community, Faul said, adding that she's grateful that the San Francisco Giants offer it.

"It's not just publicity for them," she said. "It actually works."

Jeff Hammar, commissioner of the Atwater Junior Giants, helped bring the trophies to Atwater by petitioning the Giants organization.

The way the Giants overcame obstacles to win in 2010 and 2012 can teach kids a lot about leadership, teamwork and confidence, said Hammar, who's a member of the Junior Giants Hall of Fame.

"They taught these kids what to do," Hammar said. "Having these trophies here is teaching our city that there is hope. We can overcome everything. I know we're going through a tough time city-wise with the financial situation, but this is hope. This is hope that anything can happen. It goes beyond baseball."

Fans such as 11-year-old Andrew Pettygrove and his father, 62-year-old Scott Pettygrove, said the experience was worth the wait in line.

After the Giants won the World Series in 2010, Andrew said, he got to touch the championship trophy. Wednesday, he touched the other one, hoping it would bring the team good luck.

"If they win this year, I'm going to touch the next one," he said. "My fingers are magic."

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

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