Mercer baseball head coach Craig Gibson announced Tuesday that former Major League Baseball star Darryl Strawberry will serve as the keynote speaker for the First Pitch Classic on Feb. 10 at Hawkins Arena.
Tickets for the event go on sale starting Jan. 5.
The seventh annual event kicks off the 2015 season and benefits the Bears’ baseball program. An autograph session at 5:30 p.m. in the President’s Dining Room will be followed by dinner at 7 p.m. on the Hawkins Arena floor.
Strawberry, whose son Jordan is a member of Mercer’s men’s basketball team, joins a long list of guest speakers to headline past events: Gordon Beckham, Jeff Francoeur, Chipper Jones, Dale Murphy, Pete Rose and John Smoltz.
“We are excited about having Darryl join the Mercer baseball program on February 10,” Gibson said. “Darryl had an incredible career in professional baseball and has been an inspirational spokesman in the community over the past 10 years, including a leading role with Promise Keepers. I think he will bring a tremendous message for the entire Middle Georgia community.”
Strawberry was an eight-time All-Star, drafted in 1980 by the New York Mets. He was the NL rookie of the year in 1983 and finished his career with 335 home runs, 1,000 RBI and 221 stolen bases in a 17-year career, while winning four World Series titles.