Two-time World Series champion and three-time Major League Baseball All-Star Ken Griffey Sr. will be the featured speaker at the 2020 Youngstown State Baseball First Pitch Breakfast, which will be held Saturday, Feb. 8, at Waypoint 4180 in Canfield. He will be joined by Cleveland Indians Television Play-By-Play Announcer and Northeast Ohio native Matt Underwood.
"It is an honor and a privilege to have two great speakers coming to Youngstown for this year's First Pitch Breakfast," said YSU head coach Dan Bertolini. "To have a member of the Big Red Machine with multiple World Series Championships as one of our speakers is really special. We're also thrilled to have a tremendous broadcaster who is familiar to so many baseball fans here in Northeast Ohio. I have watched and listened to Matt Underwood for a while now, and with his experience calling games for the Indians, I know he will have some great stories to tell. We look forward to another successful year on the diamond and this event is a great way to kick it off."
The event will also provide fans the opportunity to meet the 2020 Penguins baseball squad, enjoy a breakfast buffet and bid in live and silent auctions on an impressive lineup of Major League Baseball memorabilia, unique baseball experiences and YSU baseball gear. A breakfast ticket will also provide entrance into a pull raffle, which will be for two different grand prizes. The first prize will be an autographed bat signed by the 2020 YSU baseball team. The second prize will be four 2020 season tickets for Youngstown State baseball home games. All attendees will also receive a ticket voucher good for an upcoming 2020 YSU regular season home basketball game.
General admission tickets are $25 apiece, and reserved seats are $35 each. Corporate and family tables are also available for $550 and include 10 breakfast/raffle tickets, premium seating at the First Pitch Breakfast, sponsor recognition on YSUsports.com and two guests to join the speakers and the YSU baseball staff for dinner on Friday, Feb. 7, at Michael Alberini's in Boardman. Premium Reserved tables are also available for $350, which will guarantee priority seating for 10 people to hear both speakers share their experiences at the breakfast.
Doors will open at 8:00 a.m. with the buffet beginning at 8:30 and the program commencing at 9.
Griffey Sr. played 19 seasons in the MLB from 1973 through 1991 for the Cincinnati Reds, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves and Seattle Mariners. He was a member of the famed "Big Red Machine" Reds teams that dominated the National League during the 1970's. Griffey Sr. helped lead Cincinnati to back-to-back World Series Titles in 1975 and 1976 while being selected as an All-Star in 1976, 1977 and 1980. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1980 MLB All-Star Game, and he was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 2004. Griffey Sr. finished his career with a .296 batting average, 2,143 hits, 152 home runs and 859 RBIs.
Griffey Sr. and his son, Ken Griffey Jr., became the first father-son tandem to play on the same MLB team on August 31, 1990, with the Seattle Mariners. Griffey Sr. and Griffey Jr. hit back-to-back home runs in a game against the California Angels on September 14, 1990. It remains the only time in major league history that a father and son hit back-to-back homers. Griffey's younger son Craig played in the Mariners' minor league system and appeared with his brother in the outfield during various Cactus League games. Griffey Jr. finished his career as a 10-time Gold Glove Award winner and a seven-time Silver Slugger recipient. He was a 13-time All-Star and hit 630 home runs, the sixth-most in MLB history. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016.
Underwood, a native of Ashland, Ohio, began his career with Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS-TV5, where he spent 17 years and served as the station's sports director from 1997-1999 before joining the Cleveland Indians. He has spent the past 13 years in the TV booth calling play-by-play with partner and former Indians center fielder Rick Manning. Underwood was previously a member of the Cleveland Indians radio broadcast team from 2000-2006. He is a graduate of Baldwin Wallace University, where he worked at the university radio station WBWC, 88.3 FM, as a disc jockey and sportscaster. Underwood returned to his alma mater as the keynote speaker at BW's fall commencement ceremony in December 2018.
The Emmy Award-winning broadcaster also wrote, narrated and produced a documentary on former Cleveland pitcher Addie Joss, the first of only two Cleveland pitchers to throw a perfect game. Underwood is a member of both the Baldwin Wallace Radio Hall of Fame and Ashland County Sports Hall of Fame. He was also the recipient of the 2013 Alumni Merit Award from Baldwin Wallace and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Ashland High School.
Tickets will be on sale at the Beeghly Center merchandise booth during YSU men's and women's basketball games. Other tickets can be arranged and questions can be answered by Youngstown State assistant coach Shane Davis at the YSU baseball office. Coach Davis can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Waypoint 4180 is located at 4180 Westford Place in Canfield.