Sparks to Speak at Banquet

South Texas Winter Banquet set for Thursday, Jan. 18 at Ortiz Center

By Corpus Christi Hooks | January 9, 2018 4:04 PM

CORPUS CHRISTI - Astros broadcaster Steve Sparks, who pitched in parts of nine Major League campaigns, visits Corpus Christi on Thursday, January 18 for the 14th South Texas Winter Baseball Banquet.

Ortiz Center doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the event begins at 7. For tickets, stop by the Whataburger Field Box Office or call 361-561-HOOK (4665).

Sparks teams with play-by-play man Robert Ford and producer/engineer Matt Boltz on Astros radio broadcasts. This past season, the crew covered Houston's first World Series title in the 56-year history of the ballclub.

Entering his sixth season in the Astros radio booth, Sparks pitched for the Brewers, Angels, Tigers, A's and Diamondbacks from 1995 to 2004. The knuckleballer led Major League Baseball with eight complete games in 2001, going 14-9 with a 3.65 ERA in 35 games (33 starts) for Detroit. Sparks totaled a career-best 232 innings that season.

The Tulsa native finished 16 starts in his big-league career, including a pair of complete-game shutouts. In 1995, Sparks ranked ninth in American League Rookie of the Year voting, racking up 33 appearances and 202 innings for Milwaukee.

"Next Thursday is shaping up to be a fun night," Hooks president Ken Schrom said. We are very thankful Steve is joining us for the banquet. He has an electric personality, and his experiences in the game will no doubt inform and entertain. I can't wait to get a behind-the scenes look at the Astros' World Championship run."

Sparks toiled in parts of 12 minor-league seasons, with 46 Texas League assignments coming between El Paso and Midland. Sparks was selected by the Brewers in the fifth round of the 1987 draft out of Sam Houston State University in Huntsville.

The right-handed hurler went 11-0 with a 1.94 ERA in 14 outings as a senior for the Bearkats, completing 10 of his 13 starts.

Sparks will answer questions from Texas Rangers broadcaster Matt Hicks, who will reprise his role as banquet emcee. Hicks, the original "Voice of the Hooks," is entering his sixth full season in Arlington, and his 30th broadcasting professional baseball.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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