Hall of Famers Fergie Jenkins and Ryne Sandberg Headline
64th Annual Pitch and Hit Club Awards Banquet
(Chicago, IL) Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins will be the featured speaker and Ryne Sandberg will join Fergie atop the list of baseball royalty at the 64th Annual Awards Banquet held by the Pitch & Hit Club of Chicago. The gathering will take place Sunday, January 17th at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.
The Pitch & Hit Club, founded in 1942, has holds this annual banquet to honor baseball people at all levels, including players, coaches, umpires, executives and media. It is the longest running and only industry-wide winter baseball banquet in the Chicago area. Proceeds from the dinner benefit worthy baseball causes including Cubs Care, White Sox Charities and the Professional Baseball Scouts Association.
Jenkins, 65, was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991 after a stellar 19-year career which included ten seasons with the Chicago Cubs. He won 284 games and is best remembered for his incredible six consecutive 20-win seasons from 1967-72. Traded to the Texas Rangers in 1974, Fergie turned in an outstanding 25 wins in his first year in the American League. With pinpoint control (only 997 walks in a remarkable 4,500 innings) and dominating presence, Fergie led his league in complete games four times. He will be presented with the Pitch & Hit Club Lifetime Achievement Award by president Peter Caliendo.
Sandberg, 50, was an MVP, ten-time all-star and nine-time Gold Glove second baseman in 15 seasons with the Cubs. Ryne’s 2005 election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame followed a brilliant career in which he set records among second baseman for home runs (277 of 282 overall), fielding percentage (.989) and consecutive errorless games in a season (90) and over two seasons (123). He led the National League in runs scored three times and hit .385 in 10 postseason games. Ryne was recently promoted to manager of the Cubs’ AAA farm team in Iowa for 2010, his fourth season managing in the Cubs system. He will receive a Lou Boudreau Hall of Fame Award.
WGN radio’s Dave Kaplan will serve as emcee of this year’s dinner. Kaplan joined WGN in April of 1995 where he is afternoon drive sports reporter and host of “Sports Central,” heard weeknights from 7 to 9pm. Kaplan has earned six Achievement in Radio Awards, including three for best sports talk show and two for best sportscast. The Associated Press named him “Newsfinder of the Year” for breaking several major stories and he was co-winner of the prestigious 2005 Illinois Broadcaster’s Association Silver Dome Award for Best Local Broadcast Team. In January of 2008, Kaplan was named the host of Chicago Tribune Live on Comcast SportsNet, which later won an Emmy Award for Best Interview Program.
Other honorees during the star-studded evening will be announced soon, including winners of the Bo Jackson Courage Award, Major and Minor League Executives of the Year, College and High School Coaches of the Year and Professional Baseball Scout of the Year. Other executives and members of the media will also be recognized for their accomplishments in baseball.
Many Major League celebrities will be on hand for autographs prior to the dinner. They include former White Sox stars Billy Pierce, Ron Kittle and Eric Soderholm and former Cubs Bill Campbell, Randy Myers, Dave Otto, Gene Hiser and others. Chicago’s own Nancy Faust will be at the organ during the pre-dinner reception and Wayne Messmer will sing the National Anthem.
Tickets for the Pitch and Hit Club Annual Awards Banquet are just $75 each, $750 for a table of ten, and can be purchased on line at www.pitchandhitclub.org or by phone at (847) 781-8039. Doors open at 4:30 for autographs, a trade show, and pre-dinner hospitality. Dinner will be served at 6:30. Parking is free.
Please visit www.pitchandhitclub.org for more information.