Whitecaps Community Foundation Winter Baseball Banquet to feature Detroit Tigers Winter Caravan and Hall of Fame Inductees
COMSTOCK PARK, MI – The 22nd annual Whitecaps Community Foundation Winter Baseball Banquet, presented by Barnes & Thornburg LLP, will be held this Thursday, January 21 at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. The Banquet will feature members of the Detroit Tigers as part of their Winter Caravan, as well as two inductees into the Whitecaps Hall of Fame. The event is sold out, with nearly 600 planned attendance.
Tigers Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Al Avila and Special Assistant to the General Manager Alan Trammell will lead a group of more than 20 Tigers players and coaches on the west leg of the Caravan and appear at the banquet. Avila and select Tigers players are scheduled to speak and/or take questions during the banquet. Other Tigers scheduled to attend (subject to change) are former Whitecaps Wynton Bernard, Nick Castellanos, Jeff Ferrell, Cameron Maybin, Montreal Robertson and assistant hitting coach David Newhan, as well as Matt Boyd, Tyler Collins, Michael Fulmer, Anthony Gose, Shane Greene, Blaine Hardy, Bryan Holaday, Jose Iglesias, Mark Lowe, Drew VerHagen, Alex Wilson, bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer, pitching coach Rich Dubee, hitting coach Wally Joyner, first base coach Omar Vizquel and broadcaster Dan Dickerson.
The Whitecaps Community Foundation Winter Baseball Banquet begins at 5:45 p.m. with a silent auction of sports memorabilia and other items. The silent auction will be followed by dinner, a live auction, the Whitecaps Hall of Fame induction ceremony and the guest speakers.
Two former Whitecaps players will be inducted into the Whitecaps Hall of Fame during the banquet: outfielder Cameron Maybin and shortstop Don Kelly both will be in attendance.
Maybin, a first-round draft pick in 2005, played for the Whitecaps for the full 2006 season. The then-19-year-old outfielder hit .304 with 9 home runs, 69 RBI and 27 stolen bases and was chosen to play in the 2006 MLB All-Star Futures Game. Maybin led the team to the 2006 Midwest League Championship and was named the MWL Prospect of the Year. He made his Major League debut with the Tigers on August 17, 2007, at just 20 years old, the youngest player in the American League at that time.
Maybin was traded to the Florida Marlins in December 2007 as part of the blockbuster deal that brought Miguel Cabrera to the Tigers. He was traded to the San Diego Padres after the 2010 season, then traded to the Atlanta Braves in April 2015. He returned to Detroit this past November in a trade that sent Ian Krol and Gabe Speier to the Braves. In nine MLB seasons, he’s batted .251 with 596 hits, 100 doubles, 24 triples, 42 home runs and 209 stolen bases.
Kelly played for the Whitecaps in 2002 after being chosen in the 8th round of the 2001 draft by the Tigers. He was named the starting
shortstop in the Midwest League All-Star Game that season, and went on to hit .286 with 59 RBI for the Whitecaps. Kelly made his Major League debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 2, 2007. In 2009, the Tigers signed Kelly, and he would go on to play in Detroit for the next six seasons before becoming a free agent and signing with the Miami Marlins. He played in just two games with the Marlins before getting hurt, and eventually having season-ending Tommy John surgery in July. He has since recovered and is a free agent.
Kelly is known as a super-utility player, and is the only active player to have played every position on the field in the Major Leagues, including pitcher.
Proceeds from the Winter Baseball Banquet go to the Whitecaps Community Foundation, which will donate funds from the event to the YMCA Inner-City Youth Baseball and Softball Program and the Detroit Tigers Foundation, an affiliate of Ilitch Charities. More than $680,000 has been raised through the Whitecaps Winter Banquet for the charities.
The YMCA Inner-City Youth Baseball and Softball Program, funded by the Whitecaps Community Foundation and Fifth Third Bank, gives approximately 1,900 children annually the chance to participate in a structured extracurricular activity that provides guidance in their lives. Money raised supplies the equipment and operations necessary to provide Grand Rapids inner-city youth with a safe and reliable area during critical times in their lives while teaching the youth self-esteem, teamwork, self-confidence and the fundamentals of baseball.
The Detroit Tigers Foundation has awarded more than $17 million in Tigers tickets, grants and scholarships to local charitable organizations with a focus on youth, education and recreation since its establishment in 2005. From renovating baseball fields to rewarding academic achievement, the Foundation aids in the development and funding of innovative programs that promote the game of baseball and the good citizenship embodied in the storied history of the Detroit Tigers.
Tickets for the Whitecaps Community Foundation Winter Baseball Banquet are sold out.