A trio of young Phillies with Lehigh Valley ties - 3B Cody Asche, INF/OF Darin Ruf and RHP Jonathan Pettibone - have been added as Guests of Honor for the 2014 Phillies Winter Banquet presented by The Air Products Foundation, Lehigh Valley Health Network and Service Electric Cable TV & Communications, to be held on Thursday, January 23, 2014, at the Sands Events Center in Bethlehem. The newly announced group, as well as Phillies broadcaster Scott Franzke, will join Philadelphia Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg on the Winter Banquet lineup. Seat or table reservations are now on sale and available by calling (610) 841-PIGS (7447). Interested parties are reminded that seating is limited and the Phillies Winter Banquet has sold out in years past. The event will begin at 6 p.m.
Asche, 23, is coming off a highly successful campaign - just his second full season of professional baseball - that culminated with the youngster appearing in 50 games for the Phillies during his rookie season. He began 2013 in the International League with the IronPigs and quickly became one of the league's most consistent offensive and defensive weapons, hitting .295 while being named an All-Star for the second time in his career.
Remarkably, Asche entered the 2013 season having never played in Triple-A and with only 68 appearances at the Double-A ranks. In 2012 he led all Phillies Minor Leaguers in average (.324) and hits (168).
Ruf, 27, began last season with the IronPigs before ultimately finding an everyday role with the Phillies and swatting 14 home runs in just 73 games. 2013 was Ruf's first stop at the Triple-A level after making the well-documented jump from Double-A Reading directly to Philadelphia in 2012.
That season, the Creighton University graduate led the Eastern League with 38 home runs and 104 RBIs, while also hitting at a .317 clip. In August of 2012, he hit .371-20-36 -- becoming just the second known professional player to ever hit 20 home runs in one month, joining Sammy Sosa (1998). The Phillies 20th round pick in the 2009 draft, he won the 2012 Paul Owens Award which is given annually to the Phillies best minor league player.
Jonathan Pettibone, 23, had a very brief stint with the IronPigs in 2013 prior to spending a vast majority of the year in the Phillies rotation before a late season injury. Overall, he impressed during his rookie campaign, going 5-4 with a 4.04 ERA in 18 starts. In 2012, the right-hander went 9-7, 3.30 ERA in 19 starts with Double-A Reading before ending ended the year at 4-1, 2.55 in seven games with the IronPigs. The 2008 third round pick out of Esperanza H.S. in Anaheim went 33-32 with a 3.45 in his Minor League career.
The annual Phillies Winter Banquet is IronPigs Charities' flagship event with donations topping $124,000 in 2013. All of the money raised benefits IronPigs Charities, a non-profit organization striving to provide educational and recreational opportunities for children in the Greater Lehigh Valley area.
The main program for Phillies Winter Banquet features players and personnel from the Philadelphia Phillies and includes a dinner and open bar, a sports memorabilia silent auction, raffles and an entertainment portion with the special Phillies guests.
Tickets are $85 per person or $775 for a table of ten. Championship tables, allowing patrons entrance to a private pre-event reception are also available. The event will begin at 6 p.m. with a cocktail hour and commencement of the auctions and raffles.
The state-of-the-art Sands Bethlehem Events Center, a spacious 50,000 square foot venue, opened in 2012 on the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem campus and has already hosted a wide array of premier musical acts, comedians and sporting events. The events center is directly located adjacent to the Sands Hotel. Winter Banquet attendees may enter at any of the Sands Boulevard entrances off 3rd Street and follow the signs directing you to the rear of the hotel.
The Phillies Winter Banquet beneficiary, IronPigs Charities presented by The Air Products Foundation, is a recognized 501(c) (3) non-profit organization on the state and federal level. One of the annual highlights of the Winter Tour event is the distribution of grants to local non-profit organizations. In fact, over $375,000 has been distributed at this event since debuting in 2008. Since its inception in 2007, IronPigs Charities has made more than $560,000 in monetary contributions.
To renew or order season tickets, mini plans or group tickets for the 2014 IronPigs season presented by Capital BlueCross, call (610) 841-PIGS (7447) or visit Coca-Cola Park's ticket office during normal business hours.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.