FUNNVILLE - Future Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Lee Smith will be the headlining guest for the Richmond Flying Squirrels' annual Charity Hot Stove Banquet at the Siegel Center on January 23, the team announced on Tuesday. Additionally, former Flying Squirrels catcher Johnny Monell will be on hand, and Randolph-Macon head baseball coach Ray Hedrick will be honored as the 2019 Paul Keyes RBI Award recipient.
Tickets, tables and sponsorship packages for the event are available here. Flying Squirrels Season Ticket Members are eligible for a discounted rate on tickets by contacting the front office.
About Lee Smith
Smith was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Today's Game Era Committee last month, an honor recognizing his career as one of baseball's greatest relief pitchers. During his 18-year major-league career, Smith was selected as an All-Star seven times and was named Relief Man of the Year three times.
Throughout his career, Smith played for the Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, California Angels, Cincinnati Reds and the Montreal Expos. At the conclusion of his MLB career in 1997, Smith had compiled 478 saves, the most in baseball history at the time. He currently ranks third on the all-time saves list. Now a roving pitching instructor for the Giants, 2019 marks Smith's 20th season working in the San Francisco organization.
"Lee Smith is not only personally one of my favorite baseball players of all time, he is one of my favorite people of all time, period," Flying Squirrels VP & COO Todd "Parney" Parnell said. "Funny, sincere, humble, so down to earth and kind to everyone he meets, it's not often that a Hot Stove banquet will have an incoming Hall of Fame member, and the fact that it is a close friend like Big Lee makes it even more special."
About Ray Hedrick
Hedrick returned to his alma mater to become the head baseball coach at Randolph-Macon College in 2005 and has since guided the Yellow Jackets to national prominence. Last season, R-MC set a program record with 38 wins and earned its first-ever berth in the Division III College World Series, finishing the season ranked third in the nation in the ABCA/Collegiate Baseball and D3Baseball.com/NCBWA polls.
A native of Springfield, Va., Hedrick has been named as the VaSID College Division Baseball Coach of the Year four times (2008, '13, '16' 18) and was named the D3Baseball.com and ABCA/Diamond South Region Coach of the Year last season.
"We have known and admired Ray for his work, both on and off the field, for all of our ten years here," Parney said. "He affects his players for the rest of their lives, long after they leave Randolph-Macon. Coach Keyes and Coach Hedrick had a great relationship and that will make the evening even more personal and more special."
The Paul Keyes RBI (Richmond Baseball Impact) Award is given annually in memory of the late VCU baseball coach Paul Keyes to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the game of baseball within the Richmond community or from the Richmond community.
Paul Keyes RBI Award Recipients
2011 - Eddie Kasko
2012 - Johnny Grubb
2013 - Gene Alley
2014 - Tracy Woodson
2015 - Sam Ayoub
2016 - Cla Meredith
2017 - Shawn Stiffler
2018 - Tony Beasley
2019 - Ray Hedrick
About Johnny Monell
Monell played 227 games for the Flying Squirrels from 2011-12, combining to hit .252 with 21 home runs and 99 RBIs during the franchise's second and third seasons. He made his major-league debut with the San Francisco Giants on September 5, 2013 and saw action in eight games that month. Monell returned to the majors in May 2015 with the New York Mets. He spent the 2018 season with Triple-A Las Vegas.
Minor League Baseball President Pat O'Conner and Eastern League President Joe McEacharn will also be in attendance at the event, along with previously announced guests Tyler Beede, Conner Overton, Matt Winn and Flying Squirrels manager Willie Harris.
Doors for the Charity Hot Stove Banquet open at 5:30 p.m. at the Siegel Center and an autograph session is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. The main program for the banquet is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
Proceeds from the Charity Hot Stove Banquet benefit Flying Squirrels Charities, which focuses on "Renovating Richmond's Recreation," a project dedicated to rebuilding youth baseball fields in Richmond in partnership with Barton Malow and City of Richmond Parks, Recreation & Community Facilities.
Through Flying Squirrels Charities' "Renovating Richmond's Recreation" project, work has been done to improve youth baseball fields at Bellemeade Community Center, Blackwell Community Center, Powhatan Community Center, Fairfield Field, Henderson Complex, Hotchkiss Field, Westover Community Center, Lucks Field, Parker Field and Martin Luther King Jr. Field.
For the first time ever, the Flying Squirrels host the 2019 Eastern League All-Star Game presented by Genworth on July 10 at The Diamond. Tickets can be purchased at the Flying Squirrels Ticket Office, located on the first-base side of The Diamond, or online at squirrelsbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.