The Arkansas State baseball team and supporters will gather to celebrate the upcoming season at the 2013 Grand Slam Banquet Thursday, Feb. 7th at the Northeast Arkansas Exposition and Conference Center on Highway 49. Doors open for the event at 5 p.m.
Former Arkansas State pitcher and Major League Baseball pitcher Matt Whiteside will be the keynote speaker. Whiteside spent 10 years pitching in the major leagues with Texas, San Diego, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Toronto.
A right-handed pitcher, Whiteside made his major league debut for the Rangers on Aug. 5, 1992, at the age of 24. He went on to pitch 20 innings of relief while posting a 1.93 ERA with four saves in his first season. He finished his career with an 18-15 record while striking out 259 batters in 406 innings.
Whiteside is from Charleston, Mo., and played at Arkansas State for coach Rich Johnson from 1987-90. He was a four-year letterman at ASU and was inducted into the ASU Hall of Honor in 2007. He was the 1990 All-American South Player of the Year and holds the school record for most complete games in a season with 11. He holds the school record for most innings pitched in a single game with 13.
ASU head baseball coach Tommy Raffo played against Whiteside in 1991 and the two have renewed their relationship through the ASU baseball program. Whiteside currently lives in St. Louis, Mo., where he operates a baseball academy called the St. Louis Gamers.
The night begins with a Red Wolves meet-and-greet where fans can get signed photos, welcome the new team members and reconnect with veteran Red Wolves baseball players. During this time fans will also get the opportunity to view and bid on silent auction items. After the meet-and-greet, dinner will be served and the program will begin. Fans will hear remarks from Coach Raffo, followed by a presentation by Whiteside.
Tickets for the Grand Slam Banquet are on sale now and can be obtained by contacting the Arkansas State baseball office at 870-680-4337. Proceeds for the event will benefit the Arkansas State baseball program.
Several ticket options are available. Grand Slam tables are $600 for 8 seats. Tickets for students and youth start at $25, and individual/adult tickets are $100. For the second year, group and team rates (minimum 20) are available with special pricing of $15 for players and $50 for adults. The Heavy Hitter deal is $1,200 and includes eight tickets, four season tickets and a special reception with Matt Whiteside. Parking for the event is free