Login | May 22, 2018

RubberDucks to hold WABL fundraiser

RICHARD WEINER
Legal News Reporter

Published: January 29, 2018

Baseball Hall of Famer and former Cleveland Indians second baseman Roberto Alomar will headline the Akron RubberDucks’ second annual Hot Stove Dinner to benefit West Akron Baseball League (WABL) on Friday, Feb. 9 at the Akron Hilton Garden Inn, 1307 E. Market St. The banquet starts at 4:30 p.m.

Longtime Akron Beacon Journal baseball writer Sheldon Ocker will also be featured. Ocker was recently awarded the highest honor that a baseball writer can be given by the Hall of Fame.

Alomar said that he looks back on his time here with great fondness.

“Cleveland has such a special place in my heart, I really enjoyed my time there,” said Alomar. “Playing with my brother and in front of those amazing fans was such an honor. I am looking forward to coming back and attending the Akron RubberDucks fundraiser and supporting a great cause––youth baseball.”

Like many locals, RubberDucks Director of Public and Media Relations Adam Liberman grew up both reading Ocker and watching the Alomar brothers play, and he said is “really excited” to be able to host both the writer and the baseball player.

“Robbie is beloved here, and we thought that it would be really cool for the fans to have a chance to meet and talk with him,” said Liberman.

Roberto Alomar Velázquez went into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a Toronto Blue Jay in 2011. He started his career as a San Diego Padre in 1988, played for Toronto from 1990 to 1995, spent a couple of years with the Baltimore Orioles, and then played with his brother Santos with the Indians from 1998 to 2001. He retired from baseball in 2004. He maintains his residence in Toronto.

Sheldon Ocker recently received the 2018 J.J. Taylor Spink Award by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) for “meritorious contributions to baseball writing,” according to the Hall of Fame.

The honor earned him a display in the Hall of Fame’s library He will be presented with the annual award during the Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony in Cooperstown, New York during the weekend of Aug. 27-30. He is the 69th recipient of the award.

Ocker covered the Indians from 1981 through 2013, through high times and low. He was named Ohio Sportswriter of the year in 1997 and 2000, and was president of the national BBWAA in 1985 and of the local chapter 11 times.

Alomar’s appearance at the dinner follows last year’s speaker and former Cleveland Indian infielder Carlos Baerga.

“Robbie is very engaged with this dinner, especially because it benefits WABL,” Liberman said. “He is a big proponent of youth baseball, and he is really excited about the event. He doesn’t get down here much.”

Liberman said that, while he did not have specific figures, the 2017 event brought in a substantial amount of money for WABL, and that he expects that the February 2018 event will host more people than the previous one.

“We had a full house, a sellout, last year—around 200 people. The venue is a little larger this year,” he said.

Tickets will be $100 each or $750 for a table. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to WABL, minus expenses for the dinner, Liberman said.

The doors open at 4:30 p.m. with cocktails and a silent auction, which will feature autographed items from current Indians and RubberDucks, as well as some unique items donated by Alomar.

Dinner will start at 6:30 p.m., with a full-plated meal and dessert (vegetarian option available).

The program and question-and-answer session will follow dinner. Attendees will have the opportunity to get Alomar’s autograph after the program’s conclusion.

Among the many door prizes that will be given out at the dinner, one table will host Alomar and receive one of his jerseys.

Besides the opportunity to eat with Alomar, other door prizes will include two entries into his charity golf tournament in Toronto, a $2,500 (CAD) value that includes a Blue Jays game ticket in Alomar’s suite at the Rogers Centre, food, clothing and other perks.

To purchase tickets, fans can call (330) 253-5151 or visit akronrubberducks.com. Space is limited.

In other RubberDucks news, Liberman said that single game tickets will go on sale for the AA affiliate of the Indians a week after the dinner,

He said that the future star to watch in the upcoming season is Triston McKenzie.

The 2015 first round pick out of a Florida high school is the Indians farm systems’ “highest rated player,” said Liberman. The 6-foot 5-inch pitcher has been compared to Dwight Gooden.


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