Scrappers to hold Traficant night

Aug. 13, 2002 at 4:36 AM   |   0 comments

NILES, Ohio, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Fans attending the Mahoning Valley Scrappers baseball game Wednesday will take part in an unusual promotion as team pays tribute to former Ohio congressman James Traficant.

The Class-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians will celebrate "Jim Traficant Night," and hairpiece wearers and sons of truck drivers will get in free, said Jim Riley, the Scrappers director of marketing.

The flamboyant former politician often called himself "the son of a truck driver."

"The reason we decided to have a Traficant night has a lot to do with the local (and) national interest and coverage his situation received," Riley said. "We are not strongly for or against Traficant, we want the night to display light-hearted fun for fans."

Scrappers fans who attend the game will also receive Traficant trading cards and will take part in a mock election. The Ohio Democrat has said he would seek re-election from his prison cell.

Riley added that Traficant, who is serving an eight-year prison sentence for bribery and racketeering, played a "vital role in brining the team to the Mahoning Valley area."

There are 600,000 residents in Traficant's former 17th Congressional District, which was redrawn based on the 2000 census.

For years, Traficant's unique hairstyle had been the subject of rumors by journalists and constituents on whether it was real or a toupee. The nine-term representative had also once proclaimed that he cut his hair with a weed whacker.

However, since his arrival earlier this month at the Federal Correctional Institution in White Deer, Pa., he has been unable to wear his toupee.

"We have received quite a reaction from the community," said Riley. "For the most part people have viewed it as a humorous event. However, some people have expressed their concern for the night."

In July, Traficant became the second member of Congress top be removed since the Civil War after his House colleagues voted 420-1 to expel him. The lone vote against expulsion came from Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif., who garnered national attention after last year's disappearance of former Washington intern Chandra Levy.

The only other House member to be kicked out of Congress was Michael Myers, a Pennsylvania Democrat who was expelled in 1980 for accepting money from undercover FBI agents.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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