Spartan Baseball To Honor Earl Morrall at First Pitch Dinner
Dec. 15, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State baseball program will honor Earl Morrall as its Alumnus of the Year when it hosts the seventh annual First Pitch Dinner on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, at the Kellogg Center.
In addition to honoring Morrall, there will be a jersey ceremony for former Spartan All-American and current Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, who will also be at the event. Gibson, who earned first-team All-America honors in 1978, recently was named the 2011 National League Manager of the Year after helping guide the Diamondbacks to the NL West title. A two-time World Series Champion, Gibson was named the Most Valuable Player in the National League in 1988 as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The event will feature a silent auction, player autographs and door prizes, and attendees will receive a 2012 season ticket card and poster. In addition, MSU head coach Jake Boss, the 2011 Big Ten Coach of the Year, will introduce the defending Big Ten Champions. Player autographs and the silent auction will start at 5:30 p.m.
Tickets for the First Pitch Dinner range in price from $20 per person for children and students, $30 for Spartan baseball alumni, and $50 each for adults. A family package for two adults and two children 12-and-under is $125, and sponsored tables of eight are also available. Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m.
The First Pitch Dinner, which has been previously held at the Spartan Club in Spartan Stadium, will be held in the Kellogg Center for the first time in 2012.
Morrall was an infielder on the 1954 Big Ten Championship Spartan team that advanced to the College World Series and was also a quarterback on the 1954 and 1956 Rose Bowl-winning football teams. He lettered for three seasons (1954-56) under MSU Hall of Fame Coach John Kobs and batted a career-high .312 in 1955 while playing third base. Over his 76-game career, Morrall compiled a .270 batting average with five home runs, five triples, 10 doubles and 34 RBIs.
On the gridiron, Morrall was one of the country's premier signal callers, and earned consensus All-America honors his senior year in 1955 while leading Michigan State to a 9-1 record and a No. 2 national ranking by The Associated Press. Morrall completed 42-of-68 passes for 941 yards, then tying the school record, and ranked among the top 10 in the nation in total offense with 1,047 yards. He averaged a nation-best 9.1 yards per play and passed for a school-record 274 yards against Marquette, a mark that stood until 1969. Morrall, who finished No. 4 in the voting for the Heisman Trophy, also ranked No. 2 in the nation in punting with a 42.9 average.
Morrall concluded his MSU stint in the top spot in passing yards (2,015) and pass completion percentage, and closed his Spartan career with a win in the 1956 Rose Bowl over UCLA. In 1996, he was chosen as a member of MSU's Centennial Super Squad.
Chosen by the San Francisco 49ers in the first round of the 1956 NFL Draft, Morrall enjoyed a successful 21-year pro career and was a member of three Super Bowl championship teams (Baltimore: 1970; Miami: 1972, 1973). Morrall was named the Associated Press NFL Player of the Year in 1968 while leading the Colts to Super Bowl III. In Super Bowl V, Morrall helped Baltimore to a 16-13 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, completing 7-of-15 passes for 167 yards. In 1972, he was a vital part of the undefeated Dolphins season, starting 11 of Miami's 17 games that season. For his efforts, he earned the inaugural NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award and was also named the AFC Player of the Year. A two-time Pro Bowl selection (1957, 1968) and two-time first-team All-Pro (1968, 1972), Morrall threw for 20,809 yards and 161 touchdowns in his career.
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.
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