Sports dinner celebrities well 'armed'

ERIC BENDER -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

Canada's defence department might want to check out the arms display coming to the London Convention Centre on Jan. 16.

Larry Walker, Orlando Hudson, Damon Allen and Adam Stern will appear at the 2006 head table during the 50th anniversary of the London Sports Celebrity Dinner and Auction, the London Rotary Club, London sports media and the Thames Valley Children's Centre have announced.

Walker, a big league outfielder with longevity (he's turning 39) from Maple Ridge, B.C., just concluded his career in the National League championship series with the St. Louis Cardinals. Walker and the Cards went to the World Series the previous season.

Walker is touted as Baseball Hall of Fame material. He's ranked with pitcher Ferguson Jenkins for his impact as a Canadian on baseball. Walker was National League MVP in 1997 with Colorado, a five-time all-star and won seven Gold Gloves and three batting crowns.

Blue Jays infielder Hudson won a Gold Glove this year as the best defensive second baseman in the American League, even though he missed some of the latter part of the season with a sprained ankle. Hudson, 28, from South Carolina, joined the Blue Jays in 2002 after being the team's 43rd-round draft choice in 1997. He hit .271 with 10 home runs this season.

Ageless quarterback Allen's arm has flung more passes than anyone in Canadian Football League history and had more completions and yardage. He is the league's fourth leading rusher in history. He was named the CFL's outstanding player this year and led the Toronto Argonauts to first in the East Division in the regular season.

Allen turned pro with the Edmonton Eskimos in 1985 and helped the team win the Grey Cup in 1987, the first of Allen's three Grey Cups.

Stern, picked up by the Boston Red Sox in 2004, was striving for everyday work during the 2005 season.

The London Badger baseball organization grad played collegiate ball for the University of Nebraska and with the Canadian team at the 2004 Olympics.

Stern was the top Canadian selected in the 2001 major league draft by the Atlanta Braves. He played in the Braves' minor league organization before the Red Sox claimed him and kept him on their 2005 roster.


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