The Richmond Flying Squirrels, Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, are excited to announce three-time Major League Baseball All-Star David Justice will be joining the Opening Day festivities on April 6 at The Diamond. Justice, a former Richmond Braves standout ('88 -'90), will throw out the first pitch of the 2017 season as well as sign autographs on the concourse from 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. (limit one per fan).
"I'm really excited to go back to Richmond," said Justice. "I have a lot of wonderful memories from playing at The Diamond and winning the Governor's Cup in 1989. Richmond is a beautiful city and the fans were unbelievable and very supportive of our Richmond Braves."
Justice played 14 seasons in the Major Leagues, eight with the Atlanta Braves and was a perennial postseason figure. He appeared in the playoffs 10 times throughout his career and reached the World Series on six occasions ('91, '92, '95, '97, '00, '01). The two-time World Series winner ('95 Atlanta, '00 New York Yankees) joins the Flying Squirrels Opening Day festivities that also features dueling fireworks presented by Chick-fil-A, Fas Mart and Virginia Putative Father Registry. First pitch for Opening Day April 6 is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. with gates opening at 5:30 p.m.
Single-game tickets for Opening Day and the entire 2017 season will go on sale Saturday, March 4 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at The Diamond. Online and phone orders will begin at 11 a.m. March 4.
The Braves selected Justice in the fourth round of the 1985 draft out of Thomas Moore College in Crestview Hills, Kentucky. Justice swiftly moved through the Braves minor league system and arrived at Triple-A Richmond in 1988.
The left-handed swinger appeared in 70 games his first season at The Diamond and hit eight homers with 28 RBIs. Justice returned to Richmond in 1989 and smacked 12 homers with 58 RBIs over 115 games during the regular season. Justice helped lead the R-Braves to the 1989 pennant and Governor's Cup championship. He made his MLB debut on May 22, 1989, and appeared in 16 Major League games as a 23-year-old. Justice stepped into the limelight for Atlanta the next season, blasting 28 home runs to earn Rookie of the Year honors for the 1990 campaign. The following year, Justice helped the upstart Braves go from worst to first in the National League East, a turnaround that ignited a string of 14 consecutive division titles for Atlanta ('91-'05).
In 1993 Justice finished third in the NL League MVP voting behind Barry Bonds and Lenny Dykstra. He clubbed a career-high 40 homers and 120 RBIs, cementing himself as one of baseball's premier sluggers. Overall, Justice played parts of eight seasons in Atlanta, a stretch that included a World Series championship in 1995. Justice hit a solo home run in the Braves' 1-0 Game Six win over the Cleveland Indians to clinch the club's World Series victory.
On March 25, 1997, the Braves traded Justice, along with Marquis Grissom to the Indians for Alan Embree and Kenny Lofton. In his first year with Cleveland, Justice swatted 33 homers and collected 101 RBIs, leading Cleveland back to the World Series. He was selected to his third All-Star squad that same season. Justice spent over three seasons in Cleveland and was traded again, this time to the New York Yankees on June 29, 2000.
While in New York, Justice continued his consistent production and earned ALCS MVP honors en route to another World Series championship. He hit 18 home runs the following year to help New York once again reach the World Series.
Prior to the 2002 season, Justice swapped once more in a deal that sent him to the "Moneyball" Oakland Athletics. The Athletics reached the playoffs that season, with Justice reaching base at a .376 clip. He retired after the season at age 36.
Single-Game Tickets On Sale
The Flying Squirrels announced their fully loaded 2017 promotional schedule last Friday at the VMFA. The promotional schedule includes a record 37 giveaways along with 23 fireworks shows. Nutzy's Block Party will run from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and will end as gates open for VCU's baseball game against Fairfield University. First pitch for the VCU contest is scheduled for 2 p.m. and tickets for the VCU game can be purchased at the front gates of The Diamond. Season tickets, mini plans and group ticket packages are still available by contacting the Flying Squirrels box office at 804-359-FUNN (3866).