Slammers’ President to be Honored at 66th Annual Pitch and Hit Club Awards

PRESS RELEASE – Bill Waliewski, President of the Joliet Slammers will be presented with the Minor League Executive of the Year Award by the Pitch and Hit Club of Chicago at the organization’s 66th annual Awards Banquet on Sunday, January 29th at the Carlisle Banquet Hall in Lombard, IL.

In their first year of existence, the Slammers were the Frontier League East Division Regular Season Champions, went on to beat the Lake Erie Crushers three games to none in the playoff semi-finals and then defeated the River City Rascals three games to one to capture the Frontier League Championship.

The 2011 season also brought other accolades for the Slammers.  Field Manager Bart Zeller was named Frontier League Manager of the Year.  The team had four players selected to the mid-season Frontier League All-Star game and 1B/DH Eric Lis was voted as the MVP of the game.

Closer Ryan Quigley, a Joliet native and St. Xavier alumni, set the Frontier League’s all-time single season save record with 28.  Quigley was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks organization for the 2012 season, while pitcher Aaron Dott was signed by the New York Yankees earlier in the season.

As an organization, the Slammers were selected as Baseball’s Logo/Branding of the Year by Ballpark Digest.    The Slammers were also featured on ESPN and on MLB Network.

Waliewski joins an elite group of baseball players, coaches, executives and organizations who will be recognized for their contributions to the game, including guest of honor, Hall-of-Famer Andre Dawson, Chicagoland natives Curtis Granderson of the New York Yankees and David Dombrowski of the Detroit Tigers and many more.

Proceeds from the dinner go to benefit worthy baseball causes including Cubs Care, White Sox Charities and the Professional Baseball Scouts Association.  Also, this year, the club will also make a contribution to the Dempster Family Foundation in recognition of Jenny Dempster (Mrs. Ryan Dempster) as the “Mary Frances Veeck Woman of the Year”.

Local entertainer Mike Toomey will serve as emcee of this year’s dinner.  The legendary Nancy Faust will provide pre-dinner baseball music on the organ and the National Anthem will be performed by Chicago music icons Lisa McClowry and Jim Peterick. In addition to a silent auction of sports memorabilia and other prizes, current and former professional athletes will be on hand to sign autographs. There will also be a raffle of items signed by Andre Dawson.

In all, eighteen individuals or organizations will be honored, they are:

Guest of Honor – Hall-of-Famer Andre Dawson
Lou Boudreau Hall of Fame Inductee -David Dombrowski, President and General Manager, Detroit Tigers
Chicago Area Major League Player of the Year – Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees
Jerome Holtzman Award presented by The Chicago Baseball Museum – Minnie Minoso, Chicago White Sox
Dizzy Trout Baseball Ambassador Award – Roland Hemond, Arizona Diamondbacks
Mary Frances Veeck Woman of the Year – Mrs. Jenny Dempster, Chicago Cubs / Dempster Family Foundation
Harry Caray Sportscaster of the Year – Dan Roan, WGN Television
Nick Kamzic Scout of the Year – Kris Gross, St. Louis Cardinals
Bill Gleason Sportswriter of the Year – Scott Merkin, MLB.com
Major League Executive of the Year – Doug Melvin, Milwaukee Brewers
Minor League Executive of the Year – Bill Waliewski, Joliet Slammers
Chicago Area Minor League Player of the Year – Casey Crosby, Detroit Tigers
Chicago Area College Player of the Year – Jeff Holm, Michigan State University
Chicago Area Amateur Coach of the Year – Justin Fleener, Teutopolis Wooden Shoes
Bo Jackson Courage Award – Jack DeHeer, Roy Hobbs Baseball
Len DiForte Amateur Baseball Service Award – Al Budding
Charlie Hum Club Service Award – Jim Hall
Pitch & Hit Club President’s Award – Old Timers Baseball Association of Joliet

Tickets are just $100 each, $75 for club members, and can be purchased by emailing ticket chairperson Bridget Venturi-Veneema at bventuri@aol.com or by calling Bill Motluck at (708) 805-1928.  Parking is free.  Valet parking is available.

Please visit www.pitchandhitclub.org or their facebook page (Pitch & Hit Club) for more information.

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