Nov. 30, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State baseball program will honor Tom Yewcic as its Alumnus of the Year when it hosts the eighth annual First Pitch Dinner on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, at the Kellogg Center.
In addition to honoring Yewcic, World Series champion and Lansing native John Smoltz will serve as the keynote speaker for the event. An eight-time All-Star and 21-year Major League veteran, Smoltz is the only pitcher in MLB history to record at least 200 wins and 150 saves. He ranks 16th in MLB history with 3,084 strikeouts and won the Cy Young Award in 1996 after leading the National League in wins (24), strikeouts (276) and innings pitched (253.2).
The event will feature a silent auction, player autographs and door prizes, and attendees will receive a 2013 season ticket card and poster. In addition, MSU head coach Jake Boss will introduce the 2013 Spartans, who are fresh off their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 33 years. Player autographs and the silent auction will start at 12 p.m.
Tickets for the First Pitch Dinner range in price from $10 per person for children and students, $40 for Spartan baseball alumni, and $50 each for adults. Sponsored tables of eight are also available. Dinner begins at 1 p.m.
This marks the second year the First Pitch Dinner will be held in the Kellogg Center. A record crowd of nearly 600 attended last year's event, which honored Kirk Gibson in a jersey ceremony and Earl Morrall as the MSU Baseball Alumnus of the Year.
For more information on the First Pitch Dinner or to register, open the PDF registration above or call the baseball office at 517.353.0816.
ABOUT TOM YEWCIC
Tom Yewcic , a two-year letterwinner as a catcher (1953-54), was the 1954 College World Series Most Valuable Player as he led the Spartans to their only appearance in Omaha. He garnered first-team All-America honors from the American Baseball Coaches Association and was also a first-team All-Big Ten selection that season after batting .305 with three homers, five doubles and 12 RBIs. The Spartans went 25-10-1 and claimed the school's first-ever Big Ten baseball championship in just their fourth year in league play with an 11-2 conference mark. Yewcic and the Spartans went 3-2 in the CWS to finish in third place.
Yewcic was also a three-year letterwinner in football (1951-53) and earned All-America status in 1952 by NBC-TV after leading the Spartans to an undefeated 9-0 season and the consensus national championship. As the team's starting quarterback, he completed 41-of-95 passes for 941 yards, then a school season record, and 10 touchdowns. In his first game as a starting quarterback, he was 7-of-14 passing for 171 yards and rallied the Spartans to a 27-13 win at Michigan. Yewcic was just the second Spartan QB to reach the 200-yard passing mark when he threw for 202 yards in the 48-6 win over Texas A&M.
Yewcic also played quarterback on the 1953 Big Ten Championship team that went 9-1 and defeated UCLA in the program's first-ever appearance in the Rose Bowl. He threw for seven touchdowns and 489 yards as a senior that season.
Yewcic finished his career with 18 touchdown passes and 1,480 passing yards as the Spartans compiled a 27-1 record during his three years on the team. He also was the starting punter for MSU from 1951-53 and averaged 38.7 yards per punt (4,762 yards on 123 punts).
Yewcic was selected in the 27th round of the 1954 National Football League Draft by Pittsburgh, but he elected to play professional baseball and reached the Major Leagues with the Detroit Tigers in 1957.
Following his baseball career, Yewcic entered the pro football ranks with Toronto of the Canadian Football League before playing for the Boston Patriots of the American Football League from 1961-66. He was named to the Patriots All-1960s AFL Team as a punter.
ABOUT JOHN SMOLTZ
An eight-time All-Star and 21-year Major League veteran, John Smoltz is the only pitcher in MLB history to record at least 200 wins and 150 saves. He spent 20 seasons with the Atlanta Braves (1988-2008) and one season (2009) pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox.
Smoltz won 213 games and recorded 154 saves, and ranks 16th in MLB history with 3,084 strikeouts. He won the Cy Young Award in 1996 after leading the National League in wins (24), strikeouts (276) and innings pitched (253.2).
Considered one of the greatest playoff pitchers in MLB history, Smoltz went 15-4 with a 2.67 ERA in 41 postseason games. He helped the Braves win the 1995 World Series and appeared in the Fall Classic a total of five times, compiling a career 2.47 ERA and 52 strikeouts in eight World Series games. He owns the most strikeouts (199) in postseason history, ranks second in wins (15), and earned NLCS MVP honors in 1992.
Smoltz, who had his No. 29 jersey retired by the Braves in 2012, has been the recipient of the 1995 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, the 2005 Roberto Clemente Award and the 2007 Branch Rickey Award. He currently is a broadcaster on the MLB Network and TBS.