Williamsport Crosscutters 9th Annual Hot Stove Banquet

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Its been almost a decade since the Williamsport Crosscutters held their first Hot Stove Banquet.  On the night of January 19th, baseball fans were invited to sit back, relax, eat some good food, and here stories from the celebrity guests.  This year the guest list included Phillies Manager Ryne Sandberg, Denny McLain, Crosscutters Manager and 1992 World Series MVP Pat Borders, and Pat Gillick.  Other members of the Phillies organization were also there in attendance.  Phillies pitcher Ken Giles was suppose to be there, but due to a scheduling conflict he couldn’t make it.

For a ticket price of $49.00, I believe you get one heck of a deal.  That includes a full chicken dinner, salad, and cake.  Plus at the conclusion of the event you can get autographs from the guests, given you get in line fast enough.  Some guests stick around longer than others.  Its best to prioritize which autographs you want first, second, and third so you can get in that particular line early.  You never quite know when they’ll cut the line off.  I was able to snag Ryne Sandberg on my bat.

The Chinese auction had a lot of signed baseballs, bobbleheads, and pins.  I threw some tickets into three different bags for bobbleheads, but didn’t win any this time.  They were also giving away a Dellin Betances game-worn Yankees jersey that came with a COA from Steiner.

Right before the autograph session began, they made an announcement that the Phillies had a special gift for everyone as they left.  All attendees were to receive a FREE Chase Utley bobblehead on the way out.  This was an added bonus that I didn’t see coming.  I collect bobbleheads and never had one of Chase Utley before.  This specific Utley bobblehead was a stadium giveaway the Phillies gave out last season.  They must have made some extra.

Overall, it was one of the best Hot Stove Banquets they ever had.  Denny McLain’s story about how he and Tug McGraw went over to Vietnam was very funny.  The bobblehead at the end really put it over the top for me.  Try getting a full meal, autographs, and a bobblehead for $49.00 some place else.  You won’t find it.  I forgot to mention that each seat had a Taney Baseball t-shirt too.

Next year is their 10th anniversary.  I would like to see some 10th anniversary commemorative pins made up to giveaway.  One at each place setting.  Great job everyone!!!

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(Left) Pat Gillick – former Phillies General Manager & 2011 Baseball HOF inductee (Right) Gabe Sinicropi – Crosscutters VP, Marketing & Public Relations

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Pat Borders – current Crosscutters Manager & 1992 World Series MVP

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Ryne Sandberg signature on my bat

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Utley bobblehead

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Taney Baseball t-shirt

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Phillie Phanatic!

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Boomer!

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Crosscutters Host 8th Annual Hot Stove Banquet

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The Crosscutters held their 8th annual Hot Stove Banquet at the Genetti Hotel last evening.  It was a night filled with old friends, new friends, great food, stories, giveaways, and autographs.  Some of the guests included Philadelphia Phillies Manager Ryne Sandberg, Phillies third baseman Cody Asche, and Phillies broadcaster Greg Murphy.  Returning for a second year in a row was Montoursville native and former major league third baseman Tom O’Malley.

Whoever made the decision to hold the Chinese Auction out in the lobby is a genius.  This allowed for more tables in the ballroom and a lot more room to eat at your seat.  In the past things have been a bit cramped.  The only drawback to the evening was that everyone wasn’t able to get autographs from all the guests.  After obtaining signatures from Cody Asche and Greg Murphy, I went to get in line to see Ryne Sandberg.  Unfortunately they cut the line off for Sandberg right in front of me.  That’s alright.  I had never attempted to get three autographs during this sold out event before.  On a positive note though, when I returned to the table I discovered I had won a prize pack from the Chinese Auction.

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Phillies Manager Ryne Sandberg

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Phillies 3B Cody Asche

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Phillies broadcaster Greg Murphy

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The prize pack I won was donated by the State College Spikes.  It included a T-shirt, signed baseball, signed program, and a Stan Belinda mini bobblehead the Spikes gave away last year.

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Williamsport Crosscutters 7th Annual Hot Stove Banquet & Auction

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Last night I attended the 7th annual Williamsport Crosscutters Hot Stove Banquet & Auction.  For the past seven years, the Crosscutters have been bringing in all types of colorful guests to entertain fans while at the same time raising money for a good cause.  This year the guest lineup included Denny McLain, Tom O’Malley, Justin De Fratus, and other members of the baseball community.  Good food, great stories, cool memorabilia, all in the middle of a snow storm.

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View from my seat.  The Genetti Hotel Ballroom was packed.

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Denny McLain is the last pitcher to win 30 games in a single season.  In 1968, he went 31-6.  I highly doubt this will ever happen again.  Listening to his stories about Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams were very fun.  McLain even mentioned that he is in talks to do a potential reality T.V. show.  Given his interesting history, it would probably make for some fun T.V.  Perhaps he and Pete Rose could do a crossover episode.

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Phillies relief pitcher Justin De Fratus (on left)

I’ve Turned Into Where’s Waldo!

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This is another photo from the Phillies dinner I attended Monday night.  The Williamsport Crosscutters posted it earlier today.  I bet you can’t find me in it.  This is not a trick.  I’m in there.  I feel like Where’s Waldo?

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Crosscutters 6th Annual Hot Stove Dinner with the Phillies

Last night I attended the Williamsport Crosscutters 6th Annual Hot Stove League Dinner & Auction with the Phillies.  Guest speakers included Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr, Phillies Broadcaster Tom McCarthy, Phillies Special Consultant Ed Wade, Phillies Assistant Director of Minor Leagues Steve Noworyta, Crosscutters 2012 Manager Andy Tracy, and Dave Bresnahan of “The Great Potato Caper”.

This was a fantastic event where the proceeds benefited Andrew’s Special Kids Foundation.  I’ve been to four out of the six Hot Stove Dinner’s they’ve held, and I think this was the most entertaining, but its still not the same without Harry Kalas.  Hearing Bresnahan’s potato story was very funny, and something I’d never heard before.  In between speakers they would auction a few items off.  Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr purchased a Jim Kelly signed football, and bid up a few other auctions to help raise more money.  There was a heated battle between a few bidders for a Placido Polanco signed bat which ended up selling for around $640.00.  Ruben Amaro, Jr asked the person who lost the auction if they would be willing to spend the same amount if he got Polanco to sign another one.  The bidder said yes.

Every table had a prize on it.  Whoever had a baseball card taped to the bottom of their chair won the prize.  I ended up with a $20.00 gift certificate to Dick’s Sporting Goods.  This dinner and auction had some really great items you could win.  I tried to win a bobblehead but was unsuccessful.  One lucky winner went home with an autographed Dave Bresnahan 2007 Williamsport Crosscutters bobblehead showing him holding a potato.  Its a very rare bobblehead that is worth into the hundreds.

The event was completely sold out, just like a Phillies home game.  The food was excellent too.  Be sure to read the Crosscutters write-up on the evening.

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Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr (left) and Williamsport Crosscutters VP Marketing Gabe Sinicropi (right)

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Ruben Amaro, Jr

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Phillies T.V. Broadcaster Tom McCarthy

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Phillies Special Consultant Ed Wade (left) Williamsport Crosscutters VP Marketing Gabe Sinicropi (right)

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Dave Bresnahan (left) played for the Williamsport Bills.  In 1987 he gained notoriety for playing a trick on the field that involved a potato in a game against the Reading Phillies.  Last night he was inducted into the Bowman Field Hall of Fame.  Williamsport Crosscutters VP Marketing Gabe Sinicropi (right)

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Ruben Amaro, Jr’s signature on my bat.  Right beneath Jimmy Rollins.

Williamsport Crosscutters Announce 6th Annual Hot Stove Dinner

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The Williamsport Crosscutters have announced the 6th annual Hot Stove Dinner will be on January 23, 2012.  Special guest speakers include former Phillie and current Crosscutters Manager Andy Tracy, Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr, Tom McCarthy, Ed Wade, Steve Noworyta, and Dave Bresnahan.  The Phillie Phanactic will also be there.

A portion of the proceeds go to Andrew’s Special Kids Foundation.  According to the Crosscutters website, the foundation’s mission is to “Provide special needs children with every opportunity in life which will enable them to reach their full potential by providing them with adaptive equipment, special education opportunities, safety equipment, therapies and financial assistance for out of state travel.”

At the end of the evening, attendees can lineup and get autographs from the guest speakers.  I’m really looking forward to getting Ruben Amaro, Jr’s signature on my bat.  In previous years the guests have been up on a stage while signing autographs.  Given that a portion of the proceeds go to the Andrew’s Special Kids Foundation, I would hope that the guests are down on a lower level this time.  I’m sure they would come down, but it would be easier if they were on floor level.

Here are some of the past Hot Stoves I’ve attended:

PHOTOS: 4th Annual Hot Stove League Dinner & Auction

Last night the Williamsport Crosscutters presented the 4th Annual Hot Stove League Dinner & Auction at the Genetti Hotel.  This is the third dinner I have attended and it was a lot of fun.  I’m really glad the Crosscutters are affiliated with the Phillies because they have brought in some great people who tell some very entertaining baseball stories.  This was the first time the event took place without Harry Kalas who was deeply missed.  Before any interviews took place they played a short movie which was a tribute to Harry and featured some of his most famous calls.

During dinner, you could sit back and relax while listening to various guests that included Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy,  former Phillies pitcher Dickie Noles, Phillies hitting coach Milt Thompson, and the Phillies Asst. GM Scott Proefrock.  Throughout the evening, the Crosscutters mascot Boomer and the Phanatic made their way around to everyone’s table.  Check out some of the photos.  Click on each one to enlarge.

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Phillies Asst. GM Scott Proefrock on the left, and the Crosscutters Vice President/Marketing & Public Relations Gabe Sinicropi to the right.

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Phillies play-by-play announcer Tom McCarthy

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Former Phillies outfielder and now hitting coach Milt Thompson

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Former Phillies pitcher Dickie Noles being interviewed by Gabe.

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I took one of my new bats along and got Tom McCarthy, Dickie Noles, and Milt Thompson to sign it.

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Phanatic came over to say “hi”.

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The Genetti Hotel has been around for 87 years.  It has seen a ton of historic figures pass through its halls.  The hotel has a bunch of photos on display of some of the celebrities who have visited.  This picture of Cy Young and Connie Mack stood out to me.  I could have gotten some autographs that night 🙂