Former Major League pitcher and outfielder Rick Ankiel will be the keynote speaker at this year’s A-State Grand Slam Banquet. The Arkansas State baseball team and supporters will be gathering to celebrate the upcoming season at the 2016 Grand Slam Banquet Tuesday February 16th, at the Convocation Center. Doors open at 5 p.m. Which will also feature a live and silent auction, dinner, a photo booth, and a 50/50 raffle.
Several ticket options are available. Grand Slam tables are $600 for eight seats (or seven seats and choose to have an A-State player sit at your table.) The Heavy Hitter deal is $1,000 and includes seven tickets, an A-State player seated at your table, a premium table location, an autographed baseball by Ankiel, a picture, and an exclusive reception and photo opportunity with Ankiel prior to the event. Individual tickets are available for $75 and youth tickets are available upon request for $25. For more information or to purchase tickets contact the Red Wolves Foundation at 870-972-2401 or send an email to RedWolvesFoundation@astate.edu.
The Florida native, Rick Ankiel, started his career as a second-round selection in the 1997 MLB draft by the Cardinals out of Port St. Lucie High School and quickly ascended to the big leagues when he made his debut about a month after his 20th birthday on August 23, 1999. The 6-1 lefthander put together his best season on the mound in 2000 with an 11-7 record and 3.50 ERA with 194 strikeouts in 175 innings. His MLB career spanned 11 seasons, seven with the St. Louis Cardinals and stinks with the Kansas City Royals, Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, Houston Astros and New York Mets.Ankiel became the first player since Babe Ruth to have won at least 10 games as a pitcher and also hit at least 50 home runs. Ankiel is also the only player other than Ruth to both start a postseason game as a pitcher and hit a home run in the postseason as a position player. He was one of a few that went from being a big league pitcher to later becoming a big league hitter. He retired after the 2013 season with a batting average of .240, 76 home runs, 251 runs batted in, a run average of 3.90 and 269 strikeouts!
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Rick Ankiel on his transition from pitcher to outfielder: