"When I was growing up, aspiring to be a ballplayer," said Wally Joyner, the California Angels' home run slugging star, "my father told me it was important to give back to the community."
Joyner paused as a waiter deposited a plate of roast Cornish game hen in front of him. "Giving back to the community," he said, "is part of my job."
An hour later, Joyner was up on a runway giving the community a look at his gams. And from the sounds of a black-tie-optional crowd gone ballpark rowdy--"Take if off, Wally!"--it was a job well done.
Joyner was among a dozen Angels and their wives modeling fashions at the Four Seasons hotel in Newport Beach Saturday for a benefit sponsored by Las Amigas de San Jose, a support group for St. Joseph Hospital in Orange.
"Angels for All Seasons" drew 248 guests at $125 each and netted an estimated $20,000, according to Rina Santora, president of Las Amigas. The funds will be used to augment the hospital's 11-bed emergency department, which last year treated about 40,000 patients.
After a cocktail-hour reception, dinner of salmon en croute, Cornish game hens and chocolate mousse with fresh raspberries, the ballplayers and their spouses slipped from their tables to backstage changing rooms stocked with clothes from Saks Fifth Avenue--colorful boatwear, casual ensembles, evening attire and luxurious furs.
How did the Angels compare with the L.A. Rams--who modeled last year for Las Amigas' fund-raiser?
"These baseball players were a dream!" said Saks' fashion director, Billur Wallerich. "Last year, it was 52 inches long, 54 inches long--sizes I didn't even know existed until I met those huge football guys. This year, no alterations. Very, very nice bodies."
Were it just another fashion show, the stars would have been Perry Ellis, Yves St. Laurent, Giorgio Armani, et al. But clothes were almost beside the point Saturday, as those very, very nice bodies strode into the spotlight.
"This guy never looked so good," master of ceremonies Fred Roggin joked as pitcher Willie Fraser clowned on the runway.
Roggin, a sportscaster for Channel 4, fashioned an irreverent running commentary that kept the ballplayers off-step and the audience giggling throughout the 30-minute show.
When Joyner bared his shanks, Roggin pointed to Leslie Joyner and said: "How did Wally ever get to marry a woman who looks that good?"
Of Dana McCaskill, wife of pitcher Kirk McCaskill: "Kirk's wife really has nice legs, when you get down to it, doesn't she?"
And when catcher Darrell Miller and wife, Kelly, appeared as a tall, cool twosome wrapped in leather: "Folks," said Roggin, shaking his head, "I'd like to rent this guy's body for the weekend."