For just the second time in its seven-year history, Clayton Kershaw won his own Ping Pong 4 Purpose celebrity event at Dodger Stadium.
The annual event is put on by Clayton and his wife Ellen, and raises money for their charity, Kershaw's Challenge. The couple first founded the non-profit organization in 2011 after a trip to Africa.
Nine years later, and the organization has now raised over $7.5 million dollars to support at-risk children and families in Los Angeles, Dallas, Zambia, and the Dominican Republic.
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Kershaw is one of the most decorated pitchers in baseball history. He's an eight-time All-Star, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, an MVP, and a Gold Glove Winner.
Now, Kershaw can add two-time champion of his signature celebrity ping pong tournament to his resume.
Kershaw won the inaugural event in 2013 with his partner, actor Matthew Perry, of FRIENDS fame. Six years later, including two losses in the finals, Kershaw finally was crowned champion again, this time with teammate and NL MVP frontrunner Cody Bellinger.
It might seem unfair for the generous philanthropist to win the very tournament that he helped organize, but Kershaw is a competitor, and he takes his ping pong very seriously.
Many fans might be surprised to discover that Kershaw is the best ping pong player on the Dodgers roster. The 31-year-old grew up playing the sport in his parent's garage in Dallas, Texas.
Kershaw had a ping pong table put inside the Dodgers clubhouse at the spring training facility in Camelback Ranch, Arizona. He and his teammates play throughout spring training, including mini tournaments designed to weed out the weak. Kershaw usually wins these tournaments as well.
That is why Kershaw chose a celebrity ping pong tournament as his annual charity fundraiser during the season in Los Angeles. Thursday's event place on the field at Dodger Stadium and attendees were present to plenty of ping pong action, Moscow Mule inspired cocktails, photo booths, sunglasses, toys, and great food from HiHo Burgers.
The night began with walks down the blue carpet as Kershaw, GRAMMY Award winning artist Brad Paisley, actor Bryon Cranston, Haley Joel Osment and Bachelor host Chris Harrison all did interviews with the media ahead of the tournament.
Cranston, of Breaking Bad fame, was the host for the evening and opened the event by explaining Kershaw's Challenge and the true purpose of the event: to raise money to benefit organizations that help vulnerable and at-risk children in neighborhoods in the U.S. and world.
Paisley was presented with Kershaw's Challenge Impact Award in honor of the country artist and his wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley's work in the community and their philanthropic advocacy.
Next, the ping pong matches were set with teams presented on a giant bracket featuring each matchup and pathway to the Finals.
Kershaw and Bellinger, breezed through to the Finals where they went up against Sean Maguire and his partner. At the end of a lopsided final match, Bellinger and Kershaw prevailed.
No, it's not the Commissioner's Trophy or a World Series MVP (those awards are hopefully on the way), but it was still a lot of fun and raised a lot of money for a good cause.
To find out more information, visit: www.kershawschallenge.com