Kenny Stabler Tribute May 4 at Flora-Bama
Eli Gold to appear at event to honor Foley High legend by raising Ronald McDonald House funds
A tribute to the late Ken Stabler, NFL Hall of Famer, Foley High grad and longtime champion of the Alabama Gulf Coast and passionate supporter of the charity the tribute will benefit, will be held on Saturday, May 4 from 5-8 p.m. at the Flora-Bama.
Eli Gold, the voice of Alabama football, will make a special appearance. Tickets are $25 per person, and 100 percent of the proceeds from the event, which will include a silent auction, are earmarked for Ronald McDonald House charities. Sponsorships ranging from $10,000 to $500 are available. For info, call Summer Jimmerson at 850-477-2273, Mary McAleer at 251-694-6873 or visit rmhcmobile.org.
Stabler’s friends included Flora-Bama owners Joe Gilchrist and John McInnis, and he was a regular at the Lounge on the Line before, during and after his NFL career. He often mentioned in interviews that the iconic bar was the “best watering hole in the country.”
Stabler was the first celebrity to ever participate in the Mullet Toss and the man who first brought Jimmy Buffett into the Flora-Bama.
Never one to ask for VIP treatment, Stabler loved people and he appreciated rather than shied away from attention.
“He tended to sit in the intersection of where most people were. He certainly didn’t make an effort to get away from people,’’ Gilchrist said.
“He did so many things to help our community. He used his celebrity to get the Mullet Toss started. He was willing to come out and throw the fish and be a person to help achieve some newsworthiness.”
Stabler’s daughter Alexa, who grew up on Pleasure Island, told Bamainsider.com that she did not realize the impact that her dad had on people until he passed.
“When he passed, the number of letters the family received was staggering,’’ she said. “I didn’t realize his impact on people and how far-reaching he was until he was gone. People came out from all corners of the world, all demographics: men, women, young, old. They all reached out to us and it was overwhelming.’’
A national champion at Alabama, Stabler also quarterbacked the Raiders to victory in the 11th Super Bowl. He was the 1974 NFL Most Valuable Player and was named quarterback for the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team. Stabler was posthumously elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
But for all of his success on the gridiron, maybe his greatest achievement was giving back through children’s charities – specifically the Ronald McDonald House.
Thanks to his efforts while serving as chairman of the XOXO Stabler Foundation, $600,000 was raised for The Ronald McDonald House of Mobile.
“Foley was blessed to have had him as part of our community,” said Foley Mayor John Koniar.
Stabler himself put it perfectly: “I think it’s just all about children, anything that will benefit children,” he said. “You think about a child who is sick and has to be in the hospital. He’s not from the area and has to come, and the whole family has to come. They can’t afford to stay in hotels and eat restaurant food and that sort of thing. It’s just a great service. And again, it’s all about children.”
Hometown names street after its 3-sport star & supporter
Kenny Stabler Way extends from Juniper Street into Foley’s game changing multi-sports complex, which is fitting since Stabler is among the most accomplished three sport high school athletes ever. Football • Stabler led Foley to a 29-1 record during his high school football career (the only loss coming against Vigor). Basketball • He averaged an amazing 29 points a game in basketball. Baseball • He received minor-league baseball contract offers from the Astros and Yankees. He won nine games in his senior year, racking up 125 strikeouts and five shutouts on speed alone. The only loss that Don Sutton ever suffered atTate High School was a 1-0 game to Stabler and Foley, with Stabler striking out 16 and Sutton 14. The Bear Over Signing Bonus “When I was 17 the Pittsburgh Pirates offered me $50,000 to sign. But by then I’d gotten to like football, and I wanted to play for Coach Bryant,’’ Stabler told SI. “If it hadn’t been for sports, I wouldn’t have gone to college. My dad was a mechanic in a garage up to Foley, and I’d have followed him, I’m sure.” He Was Snake Even Back In Junior High At was at Foley Junior High that Stabler earned his nickname, The Snake, from Denzil Hollis, his baseball, basketball, track & football coach in junior high. “That was when I gave him the nickname,’’ Danzil told SI. “Back in the eighth or ninth grade. He’d run 200 yards to score from 20 yards out. Skinny as a snake too. Straight up from top to bottom, and when he turned sideways, he weren’t no thicker than a airmail letter.”