Vienna, W.Va.—This year, the OVU Baseball Program began its season in a ballroom instead of on the traditional ball field. January 27 found baseball staff and players holding the first of what many hope will become regular “Leadoff Dinners.”
The evening brought together approximately 160 individuals from the community, along with keynote speaker, Al Oliver, whose professional baseball career spanned over 18 years in 6 organizations. Oliver is a career .300 hitter and collected 2,743 hits over his years at the plate.
“I was very fortunate to have played with three Hall of Famers while in Pittsburgh,” said Oliver, who spent 10 years with the Pirates from 1968-1977. “With Willie Stargell in left, the famous Roberto Clemente in right, and Bill Mazeroski at second, I am responsible for those guys being in the Hall of Fame,” Oliver joked during his address.
Oliver’s keynote was not the only feature of the evening that was a hit. Attendees had the opportunity for a meet-and-greet with Oliver. A silent auction offered items for bid, including autographed memorabilia from local sport legends.
Athletic Director and Head Baseball Coach, Chad Porter, thanked Mr. Oliver and all who were involved in making the event happen. “It was a great evening,” Porter said. “We were able to engage with the community and our supporters in an effort to raise money and awareness.” He praised Oliver’s message for the team, the coaches, and all attending the dinner, and announced his intention to incorporate the event into future seasons. He closed by thanking all who had contributed to the success of the evening.
In addition to his inspiring remarks, Al Oliver generously addressed players and coaches prior to the dinner and answered questions they had about life and sports. He also promised to keep tabs on OVU’s program throughout the season.
In all, the event raised over $6,000 for the OVU Baseball Program.
* * *
Chartered in 1958, Ohio Valley University is a faith-based, residential, liberal arts college founded by members of the Church of Christ. Students of all faiths are accepted and encouraged to apply. The university offers a variety of baccalaureate and master’s degrees to students from 26 states and 25 nations. To learn more visit www.ovu.edu.