By Lamont Faust
The Inland Division of the California Highway Patrol joined NFL Raider alumni in a friendly, yet competitive, softball game for a local charity. The beneficiary of the event was the CHPs 11-99 Foundation. The coded jargon refers to a CHP officer who is in need of assistance. Since 1981, funds have been raised to support families of those officers who have died in the line of duty.
The 11-99 Foundation has provided over two million dollars in benefits. Financial assistance has addressed such hardships as fire and flood damage, cancer treatment ,wheelchairs and scholarships given out to dependents for financial need and academic excellence.
Team CHP was led by Chief Mike Williams, Captain Jim Abele, Lt. Tom McCreary, Sgt. Eric Phipps and officers Eric Barrow, Gil Campa, Jim Fonseca, Leo Lopez, Mario Lopez, Lee Nuez, and Rick Sigler.
The Raider NFL alumni roster was headed by former USC All-American Rod Martin. Martin was chosen AFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1979 and 1983. A standout NFL linebacker, Martin also played in Super Bowl XV and XVIII.
Former Oakland Raider speedster Cliff Branch was looking quite fit on the base paths. Branch was an outstanding track star prior to being drafted by Oakland in 1972. A four-time All Pro, Branch played 15 quality years in Oakland, and played in Super Bowl XI, XV, and XVIII. For those into Raider trivia, he is one of only six Raiders to wear three Super Bowl rings.
Former linebacker Jeff Barnes was one of the more aggressive softball players as he was in a Raider uniform. Barnes, out of Berkley, played 11 years in a Raider uniform and in Super Bowl XV and XVIII. Always in great shape, Barnes played in 71 straight games over nine years.
Dokie Williams, another Cliff Branch type athlete out of UCLA was an outstanding receiver and kick off return man for the Raiders. Williams was an All-American in track and participated in the 1980 Olympic trials. He played six years in the NFL and played in Super Bowl XVIII.
Wide receiver Mervyn Fernandez looked swift enough to suit up this year. Fernandez caught passes for 1,069 yards in 1989, spent five of his professional football years playing in Canada and ended his career as a Raider in 1992.
Odis McKinney played in 73 straight games for the Raiders. He was a superior NFL defensive back and played in Super Bowls XV and XVIII. McKinney also served as a Raider coach from 1990 to 1995.
Fullback Jarrod Bunch has been acting since retiring from the NFL in 1995. Bunch had roles in Shaft, The Best Man, and The Dancer.
Former Raider nemesis Stephone Paige was billed as the Special Guest of the softball game. Fourth on Kansas Citys all time receiving list, Paige once had teen receptions on a Monday night football game and played for 10 years.
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