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Detroit Tigers Ace Max Scherzer Headlines Whitecaps Winter Baseball Banquet

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American League Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer headlines the first West Michigan Whitecaps event after the Fifth Third Ballpark blaze last Friday and the polar vortex.

The Detroit Tigers ace is part of the 20-member Detroit Tigers Winter Caravan for the 20th annual Whitecaps Winter Baseball Banquet, which is Jan. 23 at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.

Besides Scherzer, also expected to attend are David Dombrowski, Tigers president, CEO and general manager, and new Tigers players Joba Chamberlain and Steve Lombardozzi.

The banquet begins at 5:45 p.m. with a silent auction of sports memorabilia and other items. The auction is followed by dinner, a live auction, the Whitecaps Hall of Fame induction ceremony and guest speakers. Whitecaps general partners Lew Chamberlin and Dennis Baxter are also to discuss the fire at Fifth Third Ballpark and the organization’s plans to rebuild.

Proceeds go to the Whitecaps Community Foundation, which plans to donate all funds from the event to the YMCA Inner-City Youth Baseball/Softball Program and the Detroit Tigers Foundation, an affiliate of Ilitch Charities. More than $565,000 has been raised through the banquet for the charities.

Former Whitecaps pitcher Jon Connolly is the lone 2014 inductee to the Whitecaps Hall of Fame. Connolly, a starter for the Whitecaps in 2003, holds the Whitecaps’ all-time single-season record for ERA (1.41) and is tied with last year’s inductee, Andy Van Hekken, for most wins in a season with 16. He holds the Whitecaps record for shutouts with five and is second on the Whitecaps all-time leaderboard in winning percentage (.842). His dominating 2003 season earned him a spot on the Midwest League Post-Season All-Star Team.

The 2014 Midwest League All-Star Game is being hosted by the West Michigan Whitecaps.

In addition, the Whitecaps and Tigers have partnered with Mittens for Detroit, a charitable organization established by actress Erin Cummings, on a mitten and glove collection drive. Cummings is scheduled to greet banquet guests and the first 100 guests to donate new mittens or gloves will receive a limited edition Miguel Cabrera Triple Crown Fathead collectible. Mittens and gloves collected will be donated in the greater Grand Rapids and Detroit communities.

The YMCA Inner-City Youth Baseball/Softball Program, funded by the West Michigan Whitecaps Community Foundation and Fifth Third Bank, provide about 1,900 children annually the chance to participate in structured activities to help them with self-esteem, teamwork, self-confidence and the fundamentals of baseball.

Tickets are on sale through Jan. 14. They are available at $80 per person or as part of a 10-ticket corporate package that costs $900. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Whitecaps at (616) 784-4131.

Next from WZZM-13: Plainfield Township Fire Department Report on Fifth Third Ballpark Fire

Source: West Michigan Whitecaps

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