Tim Leary wore white gloves as he chopped vegetables in the kitchen at Turning Point, concealing a noticeable bulge on his left hand. It was what brought him to the transitional housing facility in the first place.

Later that day, hands bare and seated in the adjacent communal room at the OPCC center on 16th Street, the former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher held up a fist to reveal what had created that bulge: his 1988 World Series ring.

Leary, a Santa Monica High School alumnus who played baseball at UCLA before embarking on a career in the majors, was visiting Turning Point with other former players, Dodgers employees and Bank of America representatives Jan. 27 as part of a community outreach event during which they prepared and served meals to OPCC clients.

A Santa Monica resident, Leary had heard and read about the social service organization and its work with the local homeless population. But he had never before set foot in one of the nonprofit’s housing facilities.

“The ring has a lot of power,” said Leary, an alumni member of the Dodgers’ community relations team. “This is good for me. And to be able to do something right in Santa Monica is extra special.”

What made Leary’s visit even more meaningful were his interactions with two fellow Samohi alumni he’d never met before.

Leary was a star with the Bruins in college before being drafted by the New York Mets as the second pick overall in 1979. He made his MLB debut in 1981, following a season in the minors.

But even now, more than a quarter-century removed from his World Series championship, the private baseball instructor remains proud of his Santa Monica roots.

That much was clear as Leary chatted with Viveca Cole, OPCC’s volunteer coordinator at Turning Point. She graduated from Samohi in 1977, a year after Leary, but she didn’t know the all-CIF honoree.

“We probably passed each other on campus on many occasions,” she said.

Cole has become a social worker and community advocate, whether she’s speaking to students at the Samohi career fair or engaging with residents at Turning Point. The facility where she works recently completed a $1-million renovation, and she said it’s valuable for people to see OPCC’s efforts in person.

“It gives people awareness that homelessness is in everybody’s community,” she said. “We’re here to serve. We’re here to get involved at whatever level we can, whether it’s working for an agency that provides services or coming in as a volunteer.”

Having Leary in the building was a neat experience for Matt Pendergast, 53, a Canadian who graduated from Samohi in 1980.

Pendergast attended Trent University in Ontario and was recently living in Calgary when he and his wife split, he said. The breakup led him to spend his savings on a trip back to Southern California, where his 85-year-old mother lives.

A resident at Turning Point for about five weeks, Pendergast said he slept most nights in the previous year at a park in Westchester. Outreach workers put him in touch with OPCC in Santa Monica.

Clean-shaven and upbeat, Pendergast said it was hard to accept moving into a transitional housing facility.

“I’m hoping this is short-term,” he said.

jeff@www.smdp.com