HOUSTON, TX - An impressive list of former Astros and Colt .45 players will join members of the current Astros club on Friday, Feb. 10, at the 2012 Houston Baseball Dinner Benefiting Grand Slam For Youth Baseball's Scholarship Program. The dinner is being held at the Hilton Americas hotel in downtown Houston.
This year's annual dinner will include a celebration of the Astros 50th Anniversary. The event is sponsored by the Astros In Action Foundation and Minute Maid, with proceeds benefiting the Grand Slam For Youth Baseball Scholarship Program.
In addition to honoring the top players from the 2011 season, this year's dinner will include a special 50th Anniversary tribute featuring a long list of former Astros team MVPs, including Bob Watson, J.R. Richard, Jimmy Wynn, Larry Dierker, Jose Cruz, Enos Cabell, Bob Aspromonte, Roger Metzger and more. Phil Garner, manager of the 2005 NL Champion Astros, will also be in attendance, along with former Astros Kevin Bass, Art Howe, Shane Reynolds and Craig Reynolds, and popular TV analyst Jim Deshaies.
Members of the 2011 Astros scheduled to attend include J.D. Martinez (Rookie of the Year), Wandy Rodriguez (Pitcher of the Year) and Jason Bourgeois (Darryl Kile Award), and manager Brad Mills. Former Astro Lance Berkman will also be a part of the night, during which he will receive the Houston Area Player of the Year Award from the Houston Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association. Astros President and CEO George Postolos and General Manager Jeff Luhnow will also be in attendance.
Additionally, longtime Astros television broadcaster Bill Brown will receive the Fred Hartman Award for Long and Meritorious Service to Baseball. The 2011 campaign marked Brown's 25th season as the Astros play-by-play TV voice. Houston Baseball Dinner co-founder Ivy McLemore, a long-time baseball writer who currently serves as an MLB official scorer, will receive the Allen Russell Distinguished Achievement Award. Brazoswood High School's Bobby Williams will receive the Ray Knoblauch Award as the area's outstanding high school coach in 2011.
Astros Hall of Fame broadcaster Milo Hamilton returns as the emcee, and will be joined this year by veteran Houston broadcaster Lisa Malosky.
COLLEGE PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Promising Rice University right-handed pitcher Austin Kubitza has been named the 2012 Houston Area Preseason Major College Player of the Year by the Houston Baseball Dinner Committee, and will receive his award at the dinner.
The Owls have high hopes for Kubitza (6-5, 202 lb.), who had an outstanding freshman season in 2011, earning All-Conference USA honors as well as being named Conference USA Freshman of the Year. As Rice's top starter, Kubitza was 6-5 in 15 starts while leading the conference in strikeouts (102) and ranking fourth in ERA (2.34).
2012 GREATER HOUSTON AREA PRESEASON HIGH SCHOOL TEAM
The event will also include the annual introduction of the 16-member All-Greater Houston Preseason High School Team as well as the Greater Houston Area's Preseason College Player of the Year. Members of the Preseason High School team are as follows: SS Geonte Jackson, Fort Bend Elkins High School; 1B Austin Dean, Klein Collins High School; C Hunter Kopycinski, St. Thomas High School; RHP Kevin McCanna, The Woodlands High School; IF Leon Byrd, Cypress Ranch High School; OF Billy 'Nick' Williams, Galveston Ball High School; RHP Grayson Long, Barbers Hill High School; C-OF Boomer White, Memorial High School; RHP Holden Helmink, Willis High School; RHP Chris Lanham, Lamar High School; OF Jesse Baker, Brenham High School; IF Dalton Perry, Brazoswood High School; C Cameron Burns, Bellaire High School; LHP Blake Fox, Episcopal High School; IF Billy Arendt, Second Baptist High School; LHP-1B Hayden Jones, Langham Creek High School.
SPECIAL VIP RECEPTION, SILENT AUCTION
As part of the 50th Anniversary celebration, a special VIP reception will be held prior to the dinner, at 6 p.m., and will feature several of the former MVPs and current Astros players.
Dinner attendees will also have the opportunity to bid on several attractive items at a silent auction, with those proceeds also going to the GSFYB Scholarship Program.
Tickets for the dinner are priced at $100 each or at $1,000 for a table of 10, and can be purchased online at www.astros.com/baseballdinner or by calling Jo Russell at 713-789-0626. General information on the dinner is available at www.gsfyb.org, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 713-259-8686.