GREENSBORO, N.C -- Lynchburg Hillcats outfielder Jared Keel has been named the 2009 winner of the Matt Minker Community Service Award. Each Carolina League club was eligible to nominate one individual for consideration.
For the second consecutive season, Keel led the Hillcats in community service hours. He spent some 56 hours visiting hospitals, retirement homes, Scout camps and Little League clinics. He also worked with disadvantaged youngsters and instructed those who attended the Hillcats Baseball Summer Camp.
A native of Panama City, Fla., Keel was selected by the Pirates in the 31st round of the 2006 June Draft out of Troy (Ala.) University. He is 25 years old.
Keel's service did not go unnoticed by the parent Pirates organization, which is also honoring him for his service in Lynchburg with their own award.
Named in honor of the late Blue Rocks team president, the Minker award is bestowed upon the league player who does the best job of serving his club's community during each season. Minker passed away November, 2007 after a five-year battle with cancer. He was 60.
Minker was involved in the ownership of the Blue Rocks since the franchise came to Wilmington in 1993. His construction company built Frawley Stadium, in five months. He became president of the club in 1995. During his 13 years representing Wilmington on the CL's Board of Directors, he served the league as an officer, a member of the executive committee and as league representative on the Minor League Baseball Board of Trustees.