HOF Pitcher Phil Niekro headlines WGTC preseason banquet

HOF Pitcher Phil Niekro headlines WGTC preseason banquet

The West Georgia Technical College baseball program and the West Georgia Technical College Foundation welcomes MLB Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro to headline its third-annual "Knights Feast" Meet the Team Banquet on Friday, February 5, 2016.

The event will take place at Sunset Hills Country Club in Carrollton with a reception for general admission ticketholders at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and the program at 7 p.m. All proceeds will go to the WGTC Baseball to cover expenses as it enters its fifth year as an NJCAA Division I program.
 

A special VIP meet-and-greet reception will be held from 6 until 6:45 p.m. for corporate sponsors guests VIP ticketholders. Those attendees will have an opportunity to meet Niekro and receive his autograph while enjoying complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres.

"We are very excited to welcome Phil Niekro to Carrollton for our annual baseball banquet," said West Georgia Technical College President Steve G. Daniel. "This is an outstanding event which brings our baseball team and their families together for an evening of fellowship. Additionally, it is a critical fundraiser, which will help cover expenses incurred throughout the baseball season. I want to personally thank Mr. Niekro for offering his time to come speak to these young men and I invite the public to join us.
 

Niekro will give remarks following the dinner along with West Georgia Tech Director of Athletics and head baseball Todd Pratt, who also played major league baseball. Both Niekro and Pratt played for the Atlanta Braves.

Niekro was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997 following a 24-year career, which saw him pitch for the Braves, Yankees, Indians and Blue Jays. No pitcher since 1920 has pitched more innings than Niekro's 5,404. Of the 17,000-plus men who have played major league baseball, only nine have played for more seasons than Niekro.
 

Famously known for being perhaps the greatest knuckleball pitcher of all time, Niekro pitched a no-hitter against the Padres in 1973. He helped lead the Braves to their only two division titles prior to 1991. His career with the Braves spanned 19 seasons, from 1966-83 and again late in the 1987 season, when the Braves brought him back for one last start to wrap up his career in a Braves uniform.

Niekro pitched in 864 games, with 318 wins and 274 losses. Those 318 wins ranks 16th on the all-time wins list. He recorded 3,342 strikeouts in his 5,404 innings of work and finished with a career ERA of 3.35. Niekro is the last MLB pitcher to have both won and lost 20 or more games in the same season.
 

"We are very excited to have someone of the caliber of my friend Phil Niekro to headline our baseball preseason dinner," Pratt said. "I know Phil will deliver remarks that will have a lasting impact, not only on our players but also on the rest of the audience in attendance. We want to invite the community to come out and support our baseball student-athletes and meet one of the best baseball pitchers of all time. We can't thank Sunset Hills Country Club and the West Georgia Technical College Foundation enough for their support and partnership as we raise much-needed funds for our program."

A limited number of tickets for the dinner and for the VIP meet and greet are available.
 

Tickets for only the dinner and program only are priced at $100. Tickets to the dinner and program plus VIP meet and greet access are $150.

Sponsorships are available and they include dinner tickets, VIP tickets and additional publicity at the banquet and throughout the baseball season based upon the level of sponsorship. Sponsorship information can be found at www.wgtcathletics.com/knightsfeast.
 

"We have a limited number of dinner and VIP tickets available because our banquet is an intimate event made up mostly of our baseball players, their families supporters of the program," Pratt said. "However, we want to invite to public to come join us for a fun night featuring one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. We also have corporate partnership opportunities available. I would encourage anyone interested in tickets or a corporate partnership to contact me soon before we sell out."