COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. — The 20th annual Whitecaps Winter Baseball Banquet will once again be home to some big names from the Detroit Tigers.
Max Scherzer, the 2013 Cy Young Award winner, and Tigers President and General Manager Dave Dombrowksi are scheduled to attend the event at the DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids on Thursday, January 23. New Tigers Joba Chamberlain and Steve Lombardozzi are also scheduled to attend.
The Whitecaps Winter Baseball Banquet begins at 5:45 p.m. with a silent auction of sports memorabilia and other items. The silent auction will be followed by dinner, a live auction, the Whitecaps Hall of Fame induction ceremony and the guest speakers. Whitecaps General Partners Lew Chamberlin and Dennis Baxter will also address the crowd regarding the recent fire at Fifth Third Ballpark and the organization’s plans to rebuild.
Proceeds from the Winter Baseball Banquet go to the Whitecaps Community Foundation, which will donate all funds from the event to the YMCA Inner-City Youth Baseball and Softball Program and the Detroit Tigers Foundation, an affiliate of Ilitch Charities. More than $565,000 has been raised through the Whitecaps Winter Banquet for the charities.
Former Whitecaps pitcher Jon Connolly is the lone 2014 inductee to the Whitecaps Hall of Fame. Connolly, a starter for the Whitecaps in 2003, holds the Whitecaps all-time single-season record for ERA (1.41) and is tied with last year’s inductee, Andy Van Hekken, for most wins in a season with 16. He holds the Whitecaps record for shutouts with five and is second on the Whitecaps all-time leaderboard in winning percentage (.842). His dominating 2003 season earned him a spot on the Midwest League Post-Season All-Star Team. Connolly is scheduled to be in attendance at the Banquet to accept his induction award.
Tickets are on sale now and the deadline to purchase them is Tuesday, January 14. Two ticket options are available for fans interested in attending the event. Corporate tables include 10 tickets to the banquet, 40 raffle tickets and preferred seating, and are $900 each. Individual tickets are $80 per person. Raffle tickets are $5 each or five for $20. Those unable to attend but willing to support the charities are welcome to donate any amount. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Whitecaps at (616) 784-4131.
Fans should note that the Winter Banquet is not an autograph event. Although patrons are welcome to bring cameras and take pictures with Tigers guests, outside memorabilia is not allowed into the Banquet and autograph collecting will not be permitted.