Former Pirates outfielder booked for Hubbard speech
By Greg Gulas
Al Oliver, a seven-time major league all-star who spent the first 10 years of his stellar 18-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, will serve as guest speaker at fourth annual Hubbard High School Baseball Spring Training Dinner, scheduled for March 22 at the high school cafeteria.
The event is presented by the Hubbard Baseball Booster Club and will serve as a fundraiser for Eagles’ baseball program and field.
“The booster club is proud to support the Eagles baseball team,” Cathy Herberger, club president said. “Our annual Spring Training Dinner is one of our biggest events and provides the young men on the team, as well as the entire community, an opportunity to come together for a night of baseball and education.
“Al Oliver is a Hall of Fame caliber Major League Baseball player and we are honored to have him speak. I hope baseball fans in the Mahoning Valley will join us for a special evening and an event that will help raise necessary funds for equipment, uniforms and many other essentials for the program.”
A native of Portsmouth, Oliver played from 1968-85 (he spent the 1968-77 seasons with the Pirates), also playing with the Texas Rangers, Montreal Expos, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies , Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays.
He appeared in 2,368 games, registered 2,743 hits, batted .303 for his career, was a seven-time All-Star and finished second in N.L. “Rookie of the Year” voting in 1969.
He earned three Silver Slugger awards and was a key cog on the Pirates’ 1971 World Series championship team.
He had 1,326 career runs batted in, scored 1,189 runs and led the National League with 204 hits in 1982 while with the Expos.
“I am looking forward to speaking at the Hubbard High School spring baseball banquet,” Oliver noted through his representative. “My hope is to give some insight on the game and some of life’s lessons and pitfalls as well.”
Last season, the Eagles went 19-7 overall, 8-4 in the All-American Conference White Tier and return all league selections Tim Herberger, a three-year starter at catcher, and two-year starters Lukas Mosora (right field, pitcher) and Jamie Thomson (center field), both juniors.
“This is our annual kick-off to the season and a great time for everyone,” head coach John Schiraldi added. “We kick-off our season the following week at Lakeview [March 27], then will travel to Murfreesboro, Tennessee for games against high schools from that area March 29-31.
“I cannot thank the booster club enough for what they have done, continue to do and for all that they have provided for our program. Over the past several years they’ve helped provide batting cages, both inside the gym and outside at the field and so many other little things that have been helpful and necessary.”
“My father [John] was with the Pirates at that time and over the years he used to tell me what a great hitter Al Oliver was and how he could control a bat. He always said that he could flat out play.”
In addition to the booster club, other sponsors include Greenwood Chevrolet of Hubbard, Gia Russa, McDonald’s restaurant (John & Michelle Perdue) and the John Zidian Company.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m., a buffet-style dinner will be served starting at 7 p.m. with the program set to get underway at 7:45 p.m.
Tickets are $10 per person, will be limited to the first 250 fans and be purchased at EagleWear, Inc. or Devine’s Shop-N-Save, both located on Main Street in Hubbard.
Fans may also sponsor an Eagles baseball player for $10 per ticket.
No tickets will be sold the night of the event and further information can be obtained by calling 330-716-2180.