RVA – The Richmond Flying Squirrels are excited to announce that ESPN’s Karl Ravech will be the featured guest at the 2018 Charity Hot Stove Banquet on Thursday, Jan. 25 at the Siegel Center. Ravech is the primary host of the popular studio show Baseball Tonight and has been a mainstay at ESPN since 1993. Ravech will be joined at the Hot Stove Banquet by new Flying Squirrels manager Willie Harris, San Francisco Giants top prospect Chris Shaw and Texas Rangers third-base coach Tony Beasley. Individual tickets for the event are available here. Tables and sponsorship packages are available by contacting the Flying Squirrels front office.
Main doors for the event open at 5:30 p.m. at the E.J. Wade Arena inside the Stuart C. Siegel Center and the autograph session is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. The main program for the banquet is set to start at 7 p.m. The VIP reception will run from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the Tommy J. West Club. Proceeds from the annual Charity Hot Stove Banquet go towards “Renovating Richmond’s Recreation,” a project dedicated to rebuilding youth baseball fields in Richmond. Details regarding the project can be found here.
Ravech has been a longtime ESPN figure, joining the Worldwide Leader in 1993. He will be accompanied by Harris, a 2005 World Series winner with the Chicago White Sox. Harris was announced as the seventh manager in Flying Squirrels history last month and will make a return to Richmond, having played briefly for the Richmond Braves in 2007. Shaw also returns to the RVA for the event and was a popular member of the 2017 squad. The Flying Squirrels starting first baseman-turned-outfielder was one of the most productive hitters for the team last year. He spent parts of two seasons in Richmond, clubbing a combined 11 homers and 26 doubles.
The trio will also be joined by this year’s Paul Keyes RBI Award Winner Tony Beasley, who managed in the Eastern League with the Harrisburg Senators and is currently on the Texas Rangers staff. Beasley became an inspiration for many on a national level by battling and defeating cancer during the 2016 season. The Paul Keyes RBI (Richmond Baseball Impact) Award is given annually in memory of the late VCU baseball coach Paul Keyes to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the game of baseball within the Richmond community or from the Richmond community.
Previous Paul Keyes RBI Award Winners:
2011- Eddie Kasko
2012- Johnny Grubb (scheduled to attend)
2013- Gene Alley (scheduled to attend)
2014- Tracy Woodson (scheduled to attend)
2015: Sam Ayoub
2016: Cla Meredith (scheduled to attend)
2017: Shawn Stiffler (scheduled to attend)
2018: Tony Beasley (scheduled to attend)
About Karl Ravech
Karl Ravech is the primary host of ESPN’s MLB studio and pre-game show, Baseball Tonight and has been a regular part of the Monday Night Baseball team since the 2016 season. Ravech also voiced ESPN’s 2017 Home Run Derby telecast. He joined ESPN in May 1993 and has hosted ESPN’s studio coverage of the MLB playoffs and World Series since 1995. Since 2006, Ravech has provided commentary for ESPN and ABC coverage of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. In 2011, he added the Little League World Series Championship games and the College World Series to his yearly schedule. During the winter, Ravech is a play-by-play commentator on ESPN’s college basketball telecasts.
Ravech’s son, Sam Ravech, is a member of the Flying Squirrels front office and broadcast team and will also be a part of the banquet program. Sam Ravech joined the Flying Squirrels broadcast team in 2017 and is also the play-by-play voice for University of Mary Washington basketball.
Prior to joining the network, Ravech served as the weekend sports anchor/reporter at WHTM-TV in Harrisburg, Pa. (1990-93). His assignments included the 1992 Senior U.S. Open golf tournament, Harrisburg Senators (Washington Nationals’ Double-A affiliate), and MLB spring training. He was nominated for a local Sports Emmy in 1990 and 1991.
From 1987 to 1990, Ravech was employed by WBNG-TV, in Binghamton, N.Y., as a sports anchor/reporter with assignments including the 1988 U.S. Open golf tournament.
Ravech served as the sports director at NewsCenter 7 in Ithaca, N.Y., and as a freelance sports producer for WCVB-TV in Boston (1986-87), while attending college.
About Willie Harris
Harris, 39, will make his triumphant return to Richmond on Jan. 25 as the seventh manager in Flying Squirrels history and the most accomplished former MLB player to take the reins. Harris appeared in 1,046 games over the course of his 12-year MLB career, spending time with the Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals and New York Mets. The Georgia native famously scored the lone run in Game 4 of the 2005 World Series, clinching the first title in 88 years for the Chicago White Sox. Harris led off the eighth inning of Game 4 with a pinch-hit single and scored the eventual winning run on a Jermaine Dye base hit.
Harris began his coaching career in 2016 with the White Sox system as a hitting coach with the Great Falls Voyagers in the Pioneer League (Advanced Rookie League). In 2017, Harris was promoted to manager of the Winston-Salem Dash, the Advanced-A affiliate of the White Sox (Carolina League). In his first season at the helm, the Dash finished with a 56-83 record. The Dash hit .263 as a team (3rd overall) and were caught stealing just 21 times, fewest in the Carolina League.
About Chris Shaw
Shaw was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft out of Boston College. The slugger rapidly made his way through the system, making his Flying Squirrels debut on June 30, 2016. Shaw appeared in 60 games in his first stint at Double-A, hitting .246 with 16 doubles and five home runs. Shaw returned to the Flying Squirrels at the start of 2017 while making the defensive switch from first base to left field. Shaw hit .301 with 10 doubles and six home runs over 37 games prior to being promoted to Triple-A Sacramento.
Baseball America ranked Shaw the No. 3 prospect in the system in 2017 and his combined 24 homers over two levels last year could have him poised to claim the No. 1 slot in 2018. Shaw has proven to be a leader on and off the field and helped spearhead the Flying Squirrels Ice Bucket Challenge in 2016, a cause that is deeply meaningful to him.
About Tony Beasley
Beasley, the recipient of the annual Paul Keyes RBI Award, is the current third base coach for the Texas Rangers. A longtime baseball denizen, Beasley became an inspiration for many by battling and overcoming cancer during the 2016 season. The Fredericksburg, Virginia, native joined the rangers MLB staff in 2015 after stints with the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates organizations. In 2006, he worked as the third-base coach for the Nationals under manager Frank Robinson.
Beasley skippered the Harrisburg Senators, Double-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals in 2011 and made the jump to the Triple-A level in 2012. He spent two seasons with the Syracuse Chiefs before taking over the role of co-field-coordinator of instruction in the Washington Nationals’ minor league system in 2014.
Prior to his time in Harrisburg, Beasley spent three seasons in various roles on the Pittsburgh Pirates major league coaching staff, including third -base coach, base running instructor and the hitting-bunting coach for the pitchers.
Beasley also spent five years as a manager in the Pirates organization and his teams made the playoffs in all five seasons, three times taking them to the Championship Series. He managed the Hickory Crawdads to the South Atlantic League Championship in 2002. He was the 2004 Baseball America Double-A Manager of the Year with Altoona and was the 2002 & 2003 Baseball America Low Class-A Manager of the Year with Hickory. In 2004, he was a coach for the United States in the Futures Game and was the manager of the Mesa Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League
Beasley was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 19th round of the 1989 draft before being traded by the Orioles to the Pittsburgh Pirates in September, 1991. He spent nine years playing professionally in the Orioles and Pirates organizations. He became a player coach in 1998 and then retired as a player to become a full-time coach in the Pirates organization in 1999. As a player, he was a 1990 and 1991 Carolina League All-Star and a 1996 Southern League All-Star. He batted .260 in 859 minor league games with 22 home runs and 243 RBI.