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Timmy Herman Tourney is played for all youths

June 18, 2004|By Ralph Saenz

Nine-year-old Timmy Herman was at bat at a Little League game in April 1994 at Crescenta Valley Park when the ball got away from the opposing pitcher and hit him in the helmet. He thought nothing of it and ran to first base.

Later that night the third grader lose consciousness at his La Crescenta home and was taken to Verdugo Hills Hospital where he died. His family was devastated, especially when they thought that the very thing that Timmy loved the most, playing baseball, was what had killed him.

However, an autopsy performed a few days later by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office showed that Timmy had really died of something else, tumors were found on his heart that had caused him to go into cardiac arrest.

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The Herman family, as well as relatives and friends, now had to deal with their grief. Timmy's mother, Karen, came up with an idea that changed the course of their lives as well as the lives of people who didn't know Timmy.

"Timmy loved sports. I thought we could get together for a baseball game at CV Park. Most of the kids had never had a death in their families, even their grandparents were still alive. His friends didn't know what to do with their grief," she said.

Karen's husband, Rob, liked the idea. She thought they could get the kids together at the park, play a game and have a barbecue in Timmy's honor. But, it didn't work out that way.

The day came and the Hermans discovered they weren't the only ones coming out to play for Timmy. "The idea of the game spread by word of mouth. The first year we had 19 teams come to play. Even one coach who had a team in Slymar heard about it and brought his team," Karen said.

In the next 10 years, the tournament has continued to grow. The 11th annual running of the tournament will take place this year from June 25-28.

"We have 62 teams this year. Last year or the year before, we had 92 teams. That's crazy. Rob just loves all this. Now our son, Josh, who is 24, is getting involved in the running of the tournament. We even get our son's in-laws to help out," Karen said.

The age range in the tournament runs from 5-6-year-olds for T-ball to 13-14-year-olds.

The bulk of the kids who play in the tournament, Karen said, are in the 9-10 and 11-12 age group.

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