RICHMOND, Va. - Former MLB standout Andruw Jones will be the special guest for Opening Night as the Richmond Flying Squirrels begin their home schedule at The Diamond on April 16, the team announced on Wednesday. The five-time National League All-Star will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and sign
RICHMOND, Va. - Former MLB standout Andruw Jones will be the special guest for Opening Night as the Richmond Flying Squirrels begin their home schedule at The Diamond on April 16, the team announced on Wednesday. The five-time National League All-Star will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and sign autographs for fans.
Opening Night with the Flying Squirrels, presented by Virginia Birth Father Registry and Chick-fil-A, will include dueling fireworks to ring in the new season. First pitch between the Flying Squirrels and Bowie Baysox is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. and the ballpark gates open at 5 p.m.
"Opening Night in Richmond at The Diamond is a very special thing with 10 straight sellouts and a long list of popular ceremonial first pitch participants, some with ties to the Braves' history here in Richmond," Flying Squirrels VP & COO Todd "Parney" Parnell said. "Andruw Jones is certainly one of them. Many remember him for his hitting prowess, but his 10 Gold Gloves in the outfield is a high standard. We look forward to welcoming him to Richmond as we pursue our 11th consecutive Opening Night sellout at The Diamond on April 16."
Jones played 17 seasons in the majors with the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees. A star in Atlanta for 12 seasons, Jones earned 10 consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1998-2007 and was later selected to the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame. In 2005, Jones won the Silver Slugger Award and the Hank Aaron Award while leading the majors with 51 homers and pacing the National League with 128 RBIs.
Prior to his major league stardom, Jones suited up for the Richmond Braves in 1996. His stop in Richmond lasted 12 games, during which he hit .378 with five homers and 12 RBIs before earning a call to the majors in mid-August at just 19 years old.
The Willemstad, Curacao native hit .254 in his 2,196 career MLB games, adding 434 home runs over 17 years from 1996-2012.
The Flying Squirrels' first 10 home openers have all sold out, including franchise-record crowds of 9,845 fans in each of the last two years. Since the franchise's first season in 2010, the Flying Squirrels have welcomed a special guest to help open the home schedule at The Diamond. Jones joins the list of sports stars and dignitaries to celebrate the start of the new baseball season in Richmond. Previous guests include:
2019 - Ryan Klesko
2018 - Fred McGriff & Gov. Ralph Northam (caught by Mayor Levar Stoney)
2017 - David Justice (caught by Mayor Levar Stoney)
2016 - Jerome Bettis
2015 - Will Wade (caught by Gov. Terry McAuliffe)
2014 - Michael Robinson
2013 - Javy Lopez & Ryan Kerrigan
2012 - Dale Murphy
2011 - James Farrior, Brandon Rozzell & Chris Mooney
2010 - Gov. Bob McDonnell
Information on group packages for the Flying Squirrels' home opener on April 16 are available here or by contacting the front office at 804-359-FUNN (3866).