JONESBORO, AR (12/28/14) – The Arkansas State baseball team and supporters will gather to celebrate the upcoming season at the 2015 Grand Slam Banquet Monday, Feb. 2 at the Convocation Center. Doors for the event open at 5 p.m.
Former Major League Shortstop and World Series MVP David Eckstein will be the keynote speaker. Eckstein spent 10 years playing shortstop and middle infield in the Major Leagues with the Anaheim Angels, St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays, Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres.
Several ticket options are available. Grand Slam tables are $600 for eight seats (or seven seats and choose to have an A-State player sit at your table.) The Heavy Hitter deal is $1,000 and includes eight tickets (or seven seats and choose to have an A-State player sit at your table), a premium table location, an autographed book by David Eckstein and a special reception with the World Series champion prior to the banquet. Individual tickets are also available for $75.
Eckstein spent the first four years of his MLB career with the Angels where helped Anaheim capture the World Series title in 2002. At the end of the 2004 season he signed to play in St. Louis where voted to the 2005 and 2006 National League All-Star teams and won a second World Series in 2006. He was also named the World Series MVP after going 8-for-22 with four RBIs and scored three runs scored in the series, including going 4-for-5 with three doubles in game four. The World Series victory with the Cardinals made Eckstein one of few starting shortstops that have won a World Series in both the American and National Leagues.
Eckstein is from Sanford, Fla., and played collegiate baseball at the University of Florida from 1994-97 and was originally a walk-on before later earning an athletic scholarship. A standout in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), he was a first-team All-SEC selection in 1995 and 1996, a first-team All-American in 1996, a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection (1995–1997), and the first two-time Academic All-American in Gators baseball history. Eckstein was a member of the 1996 Gators squad that finished third in the College World Series. He was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 2007.
In addition to the program presented by Eckstein, the night will feature live and silent actions items, a dinner and the presentation of the "John Knight Baseball Managers Scholarship."