More than 400 fans and supporters were treated to an enjoyable morning with Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins at the Youngstown State Baseball First Pitch Breakfast on Saturday morning at The Embassy in Boardman.
In addition to a breakfast buffet and timeless baseball stories and advice from Jenkins, the event included live and silent auctions featuring baseball memorabilia, YSU items and ticket packages.
Youngstown State Provost Dr. Martin Abraham began the program by sharing points of academic pride of the university's overall student body as well as its student-athletes. YSU head baseball coach Steve Gillispie followed by presenting the program's pillars for success, which includes academic excellence. The team had a combined 3.07 grade-point average in the fall semester, and 26 different players had a semester GPA of at least 3.0. Gillispie also bragged about how the team represents itself with class both on and off the diamond, and he discussed how the program continues to improve its talent level and winning percentage while also upping its strength of schedule.
Former Penguin Drew Dosch was next at the podium, and he shared with the audience how much he enjoyed his time at Youngstown State. Dosch is currently in the Baltimore Orioles organization, and he reached the Double-A level in 2015. He said he takes the blue-collar work-ethic that he learned in Youngstown into his pro career, and he gained a sense of brotherhood both on and off the field during his time as a Penguin that he will never forget.
Jenkins shared a wide range of classic baseball stories during the morning's primary address. He talked about being a roommate of fellow Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, playing for managers Leo Durocher and Billy Martin and pitching for the Texas Rangers in the famous 10-cent beer night at Cleveland Stadium in 1974. He encouraged young players in the audience to be patient for the right opportunity, to be confident in their abilities and to play the game right way.
On behalf of the entire baseball program, Coach Gillispie would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of the First Pitch Breakfast.