One of the great all-around players of his generation, a winner of ten consecutive gold gloves, ten straight 20-homer seasons, and a 2005 Silver Slugger Award, former Braves great Andruw Jones will be the featured guest at the Charleston RiverDogs’ 14th Annual Hot Stove Banquet & Auction presented by Tom McQueeney State Farm on Friday, February 2 at the Charleston Marriott Crystal Ballroom.
The RiverDogs, the Class-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, welcome a former member of the Braves for the eighth time and a former Yankee, also for an eighth instance in the annual event’s history. The Hot Stove Banquet has become one of the most highly anticipated occasions by RiverDogs fans each season. Past speakers include Bobby Cox, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Ryne Sandberg, Wade Boggs, and Goose Gossage in an event that brings baseball fans together to celebrate the magic of America’s pastime.
Jones, a five-time All-Star, will share behind-the-scenes stories, answer questions, and pose for pictures. The event will open with a cocktail hour and silent auction that includes baseball memorabilia from past Hot Stove speakers, collectibles from RiverDogs Director of Fun Bill Murray, vacation packages, and more, beginning at 6pm.
Tom McQueeney State Farm Insurance is the presenting sponsor for the 11th consecutive year. Proceeds from the Hot Stove Banquet benefit The Citadel, College of Charleston and Charleston Southern baseball scholarship funds.
Over an accomplished 17-year big league career, Jones collected over 1,900 hits and slugged 434 home runs while batting .254/.337/.486 with 152 stolen bases. He spent 12 years with Atlanta after signing as an international free agent at age 16 with the Braves out of Willemstad, Curacao in 1993, and finished his career in pinstripes over two seasons with the Yankees.
Inserted as a regular his rookie year in 1996, Jones made his Major League debut as just a 19-year-old, and helped the Braves win a second consecutive NL pennant in his first of ten years in which he both won a gold glove and produced at least 20 homers from 1998-2007. Jones broke out as arguably the game’s biggest young star during his rookie season after Braves GM Mark Schuerholz dealt away Mark Whitten to the Mariners following a World Series title in 1995, confident in the 19-year-old’s ability. Jones was named the top prospect in the South Atlantic League the year prior after leading the Class A circuit in runs scored (104) and stolen bases (56) while batting .277, and being named the Braves’ Minor League Player of the Year.
The “Curacao Kid” played a crucial role in Atlanta’s 1996 run that just fell short, including becoming the youngest player to hit a home run in the October Classic, taking Andy Pettitte deep in his first at-bat of Game One before adding a second inning dinger off Brian Boehringer to etch his name into history as the first player since 1972 to hit home runs in their first two World Series at-bats.
Jones had his best season as a pro in 2005 when he hit .263 with 51 homers that led all of baseball and 128 RBI to earn the Hank Aaron Award as the National League’s top hitter, Silver Slugger accolades, and a second-place finish in the NL MVP race behind Albert Pujols. The 6’1” slugger’s age-28 season was the peak of an impressive tenure in the Majors that included a pair of 40-homer seasons (seven 30 HR seasons), five 100-RBI campaigns, and four years in which he scored at least 100 runs. His ten career gold glove awards in the outfield are bested only by Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente who hold 12 each.
Individual tickets to the Hot Stove Banquet are $75 and can be purchased online at riverdogs.com and rileyparkevents.com. Groups can reserve a table of eight for $600 and a table for ten at $750 by contacting the RiverDogs Special Event Department at (843) 577-DOGS (3647).
RiverDogs season tickets, half-season ticket packages, and flex plans, including options to the Riley Park Club, are now available for the 2018 campaign. The RiverDogs begin the season on April 12 when they host the Kannapolis Intimidators at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park, preceded by a weeklong road trip to open the year and an exhibition opener at The Joe on April 3 against Myrtle Beach. Ticket information can be secured by contacting the box office at (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or online at www.riverdogs.com/tickets.
Previous Hot Stove Speakers
2017 – Tom Glavine
2016 – Ryne Sandberg
2015 – Goose Gossage & Brett Gardner
2014 – Phil Niekro & Javy Lopez
2013 – Wade Boggs
2012 – John Smoltz
2011 – Bobby Cox
2010 – Dale Murphy
2009 – Gaylord Perry
2008 – Jeff Francoeur
2007 – Tommy John
2006 – Jim Bouton
2005 – Bobby Richardson