As announced by the Ironpig’s today:
(Allentown, Pa.) – Phillies manager Charlie Manuel — one of most accomplished skippers in the history of the club – has been added to the lineup for the 2011 Phillies Winter Banquet, presented by The Air Products Foundation and Coca-Cola. Manuel joins IronPigs manager and Baseball Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr., Phillies prospect and former IronPig Matt Rizzotti and Phillies Director of Public Affairs, Scott Palmer serves as banquet host. The annual event will take place on Thursday at Billera Hall on the campus of DeSales University. Manuel replaces Greg Gross, who will no longer be able to attend the event due to a scheduling conflict.
The Phillies Winter Banquet serves as the primary fundraiser for IronPigs Charities, a non-profit organization striving to provide educational and recreational opportunities for children in the Greater Lehigh Valley area. Since its inception in 2008, IronPigs Charities has donated over $250,000 to the Lehigh Valley community.
The main program for the Phillies Winter Banquet, featuring players and personnel from the N.L. East Champion Philadelphia Phillies, consists of dinner and an open bar, a sports memorabilia silent auction, raffles and an entertainment portion with the special Phillies guests. Tickets remain identical to 2010 and are $80 per person or $725 for a table of ten. Championship tables, allowing patrons entrance to a private pre-event reception that begins at 5 p.m. and the opportunity to mingle with event VIP’s are also available.
The event will begin at 6 p.m. with a cocktail hour and commencement of the auctions and raffles. Seat or table reservations are now on sale and available by calling (610) 841-PIGS. Interested parties must purchase their tickets by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, January 26.
Manuel, 67, was named as the 51st manager of the Philadelphia Phillies on Nov. 4, 2004, and guided the Phillies to just their second World Championship in franchise history during their memorable 2008 campaign. He has piloted the Phillies to the postseason for three consecutive seasons and in 2009 led them to the World Series for a second consecutive year for the first time in their 127-year history. A native of North Fork, WV, Manuel was the Cleveland Indians manager from 2000-2002 and led the Tribe to the American League Central Division title in 2001. During parts of nine Major League seasons, Manuel’s teams have gone an impressive 672-548 (.556) and posted winning records on eight occasions.
Sandberg, 51, spent the last four seasons as a manager in the Chicago Cubs’ minor league system with Single-A Peoria (2007-08), Double-A Tennessee (2009) and Triple-A Iowa (2010). He led his clubs to two first-place finishes and, overall, has a managerial record of 284-277-1 (.505). This past season, his first as a Triple-A manager, Sandberg was named Manager of the Year in the Pacific Coast League after leading the Iowa Cubs to a tie for the best record in the Northern Division (82-62).
A 2005 inductee to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Sandberg was a 10-time National League All-Star and won nine Gold Gloves and seven Silver Slugger awards during his 16-year career (1981-94, 1996-97). He was originally drafted by the Phillies in 1978 and made his Major League debut with the club in 1981, appearing in 13 games. Sandberg finished his career with a .285 batting average, 282 home runs, 1,061 RBI and 344 stolen bases in 2,164 games. At the time of his retirement, his 277 home runs as a second baseman was a Major League record.
Amaro Jr., 45, was named Senior Vice President and General Manager on November 3, 2008 after 10 years as an assistant GM under Pat Gillick (2006-2008) and Ed Wade (1999-2005). In his first year as GM, the Phillies won the National League pennant for a second straight year and following the season Amaro was honored as Executive of the Year by the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association (PSWA). Under his direction in 2010, the Phillies captured their fourth straight NL East Division crown and advanced to the National League Championship Series for a third consecutive campaign.
Rizzotti, 26, skyrocketed through the Phillies Minor League system last year, appearing at three different levels while leading the organization with a collective .343 batting average. The Floral Park, NY native spent a bulk of the year in Double-A Reading and for his outstanding play was named both a mid- and post-season Eastern League All-Star. Originally drafted by the Phillies in the sixth round of the 2007 draft, Rizzotti was hitting .362 with 16 homers and 61 RBI and led the EL in on-base percentage (.452) and slugging percentage (.635) at the time of his August 5 promotion.
The Phillies Winter Banquet beneficiary, IronPigs Charities, is a recognized 501(c) (3) non-profit organization on the state and federal level. One of the highlights of the 2011 Winter Tour event is the distribution of grants to local non-profit organizations. Nearly $150,000 has been distributed at this event.
To renew or order season tickets and mini plans for the 2011 IronPigs season presented by Capital BlueCross, call (610) 841-PIGS or visit Coca-Cola Park’s ticket office during normal business hours. The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are dedicated to providing family-friendly entertainment and are the only Minor League team to offer bubbles to fans entering the AT&T Plaza and balloons for all children exiting Coca-Cola Park.