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CORPUS CHRISTI, TX, July 27, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ -- In nearly every one of Whataburger's 700 restaurants, an old black and white photo of a distinctly American slice of 1950s life is displayed, depicting a group of young boys in their Little League uniforms proudly sponsored by Whataburger. To help celebrate its 60th anniversary, Whataburger conducted a multi-state search to reunite original members of that team, and will honor them Wednesday, August 4, on a ball field in Corpus Christi, where the first Whataburger opened in August of 1950.
Players Frank Thomas (#7), Howard Henslee (#6), John Simpson (#5) and Cliff Johnson (#13), now in their 60s, will throw the first pitch at the Corpus Christi Hooks home game at Whataburger Field as friends and families cheer them on. Whataburger will present each player with a custom replica Whataburger jersey and commemorative plaque featuring the photo, and will also recognize player Ray Dulak, who died while serving in the Vietnam War.
"It's a special feeling to walk into a Whataburger, point at the picture and tell my friends and family - that's me when I was a little boy!" said Frank Thomas, former Whataburger Athletics player who was instrumental in helping Whataburger find the other players. "Being able to throw the first pitch and reunite with my former teammates has been a dream come true."
Whataburger founder Harmon Dobson didn't just put his then-fledgling company name on the team jerseys - he also fed the kids burgers and shakes after each game. The photo of the boys shows them in the restaurant lined up in their uniforms, eagerly awaiting their post-game meal at a Corpus Christi Whataburger.
"Whataburger has been committed to encouraging young athletes from the very beginning, and we're so proud to bring the guys from that great old photo back together," said Tom Dobson, Chairman and CEO of Whataburger Restaurants, and son of founder Harmon Dobson. "As the kids used to say, it's not whether you win or lose, it's where you eat after the game. We are proud to have been that place for thousands of young athletes through the years."
Dobson's support of that Little League team was the start of Whataburger's longstanding tradition of supporting the communities in which it does business through sports sponsorships. Today, Whataburger has grown its community partnerships through a variety of high school, collegiate and professional sports teams, including the Corpus Christi Hooks. Whataburger also sponsors one of the nation's most prestigious high school basketball tournaments, the Whataburger Classic.
Whataburger has focused on its fresh, made-to-order burgers and friendly customer service since 1950 when Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. Dobson gave his restaurant a name he hoped to hear customers say every time they took a bite of his made-to-order burgers: "What a burger!" Within the first week, people lined up around the block for his 25 cent, all-American beef burgers served on five-inch buns. Today, the company is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 700 locations in 10 states with sales of more than $1 billion annually. Visit www.whataburger.com for more information on the company.
Katelyn Collier or Kristen Kauffman
Whataburger Restaurants, LP
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