Kennedy's softball team reunites to run in fundraiser for brain tumor society

Coach Griff Doherty, center, and the Ted Sox before a 2009 game.
Coach Griff Doherty, center, and the Ted Sox before a 2009 game. (Terri Roney For The Washington Post)
By Ed O'Keefe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 30, 2010

The "Ted Sox" won't take the field for the first time in 43 years next week when the U.S. Senate Softball League starts its season.

But on Sunday, at least 20 former members of the team fielded by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's office will don jerseys for the National Brain Tumor Society's Race for Hope 5K run in Washington. The fundraiser, in its 12th year, drew nearly 10,000 runners last year.

Kennedy (D-Mass.), who died in August of brain cancer, employed more than 300 staff members during his 46-year Senate career. The Kennedy-inspired team was launched by former intern Tamar Sekayan and Kelsey Phipps, who worked for the senator's Washington office and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which Kennedy led.

The two recruited former colleagues and staff members in other Senate offices and have raised more than $5,000 for the race. They also earned the support of the late senator's wife, Victoria Reggie Kennedy.

"Teddy would have been so touched by the kindness and generosity of his team. I certainly am," Reggie Kennedy said in a statement provided by Sekayan and Phipps.

The Ted Sox went undefeated during the regular season in 1987, said Phipps, who is a student at Georgetown Law School. Games usually drew about 20 staff members to the Mall to face off against teams sponsored by other Senate offices, federal agencies and Capitol Hill bars. The league has 80 teams, and this season's play starts Tuesday.

Dan Wackerow, a Kennedy staff member from 2002 to 2008, recalled a 2002 game between the staffs of Kennedy and Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.). Kennedy hit a single during the game and later cheered the team from the sidelines with his dogs, Sunny and Splash.

"Whenever he saw the team heading out to a game, he always asked us who we were playing and would wish us luck," Wackerow said.

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