Feb. 3, 2011
PHILADELPHIA - Former Philadelphia Phillies shortstop and manager Larry Bowa will give the keynote address at the Saint Joseph's baseball program's second annual Lead-Off Dinner on February 12, 2011, at the Drexelbrook Banquet Facility in Drexel Hill, Pa. In addition to Bowa's remarks, the dinner will double as an induction ceremony for this year's class of the SJU Baseball Hall of Fame. The inductees will include Steve Yentsch '77, Bill Weingartner '95, and the 1974 team. The Harry Booth Award for outstanding dedication to the Saint Joseph's baseball program will also be given out that night. This year, the honor will be bestowed upon Joe Levins '72.
"On behalf of the Saint Joseph's baseball program, I would like to express my sincere thanks to Larry Bowa for joining us," said head coach Fritz Hamburg. "Between his playing and managing days, Larry has always been someone who has approached the game with the deepest passion, unwavering commitment and utmost respect that it deserves. We were fortunate to have had the opportunity to watch and learn from him during his time in Philadelphia, and it is truly an honor for all of us that he is taking the time to be a part of our special night."
Bowa enjoyed a 16-year career with the Phillies, Chicago Cubs, and New York Mets as one of the best defensive shortstops in the major leagues, compiling a career fielding percentage of .980 and holding the single-season fielding percentage record for 10 years. A five-time All-Star, Bowa won the Gold Glove Award in 1972 and 1978 before earning a World Series championship with the Phillies in 1980.
After his retirement following the 1985 season, Bowa went into coaching, serving as the manager of the San Diego Padres for two years. He also served as a coach with the Phillies, Anaheim Angels, and Seattle Mariners before returning to Philadelphia for a four-year stint as the manager of the Phillies. He was named the National League Manager of the Year in 2001 after guiding the Phillies to within two games of the division title after a last-place finish the year before.
Most recently, Bowa was the third base coach for the New York Yankees (2006-07) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2008-10) under manager Joe Torre.
Steve Yentsch finished his Saint Joseph's career with a .343 batting average, good for seventh on the program's all-time list. His .473 mark in 1977 also remains the Saint Joseph's record for highest batting average in a single season. As a freshman in 1974, he played in 13 games for the Hawk team that eventually reached the NCAA Tournament.
Bill Weingartner graduated in 1995 as one of the top hitters the SJU program has ever had, finishing his career at the top of the all-time list in most of the major offensive categories. He remains the program's all-time leader in runs batted in with 176 and is currently ranked in the top 10 all-time in games played (seventh, 194), at bats (second, 719), hits (second, 251), batting average (sixth, .349), runs scored (fourth, 140), home runs (tied for third, 18), doubles (tied for sixth, 43), and triples (seventh, 9). He is also tied with six other Hawks for the most games played in a season with 55, a record first set in 1995. Weingartner also holds two of the top five spots in RBI in a season, driving home 52 in 1994 (third) and 50 in 1995 (fifth).
The 1974 Saint Joseph's baseball team was the second, and to date most recent, Hawk squad to reach the NCAA Tournament. SJU was the Middle Atlantic Conference champion for the second time that season, earning a victory in its first tournament game against St. John's before dropping a contest to Seton Hall and then a rematch with St. John's.
The event will be held at the Drexelbrook Banquet Facility in Drexel Hill. Tickets are available by contacting Scott Fremont at 610-660-3203 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information on the Lead-Off Dinner and all Saint Joseph's baseball alumni events can be found under the "Alumni Events" link on the Saint Joseph's baseball page at www.sjuhawks.com.