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Baseball star, wife plan to renew vows

Major League baseball player Gary Sheffield and his gospel singer wife, DeLeon, were married Feb. 4, 1999, in a quiet, simple ceremony in the Bahamas.

Saturday, a day after their first anniversary, the couple is planning to pull out all the stops and will renew their vows in a formal ceremony complete with 24 attendants, a 30-member gospel choir and an 18-piece orchestra.

The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder and his wife, the former DeLeon Richards, will exchange vows in front of some 500 family members and friends at St. Petersburg's First Presbyterian Church.

DeLeon Sheffield will wear a wedding gown designed by Michelle Roth. Her cousin Eleanor Jones Lovett of Chicago will be her maid of honor, and Philip Walker will be best man. Sheffield's uncle, Dwight Gooden, who plays for the Houston Astros, will be one of the attendants.

Bishop Noel Jones, pastor of the Greater Bethany Community Church in Los Angeles, will officiate at the double-ring ceremony. This is the church the couple attend during the baseball season, when they make their home in Los Angeles.

Following the ceremony the guests will attend a reception in Renaissance Vinoy Resort's newly completed 11,340-square-foot Palm Court Ballroom.

Sheffield, who signed a six-year, $61-million contract and is one of baseball's highest paid players, recently put his 11,000-square foot home in the Pinellas Point section of St. Petersburg on the market for $4.3-million.

The public probably won't have a chance to get a glimpse of the couple. To make certain their wedding is a private affair, they have hired security guards for the church and the reception.