Jan. 11, 2012

PHILADELPHIA - The Saint Joseph's baseball program will host its third annual Lead-Off Dinner on February 4, 2012, at the Drexelbrook Banquet Facility in Drexel Hill, Pa. The dinner will double as an induction ceremony for this year's class of the SJU Baseball Hall of Fame, Chuck Ercole '81 and Mike DeVincentis '01. The keynote speaker for the evening will be Gerry Hunsicker '72, the senior vice president of baseball operations for the American League's Tampa Bay Rays.

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 DiAngelo '70, a former assistant coach and the current dean of the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph's.

Gerry Hunsicker, the 1998 Sporting News Executive of the Year, has been with the Rays since 2005 in the role of senior vice president for baseball operations. He has overseen the growth of Tampa Bay's international scouting operation as the Rays have built an increased presence in South America, including the first baseball academy in Brazil run by a Major League franchise.

Prior to his tenure in Tampa Bay, Hunsicker was the general manager of the Houston Astros from 1996 to 2004, guiding the team to a franchise-best 102 wins in 1998. The nucleus he built helped carry the Astros to four National League Central division titles in five seasons and a National League Wild Card berth in 2004.

Hunsicker began his career in professional baseball with the Astros in 1978 before joining the New York Mets as their minor league director. Prior to his time with Houston, he was the assistant athletic director and assistant baseball coach at Florida International University. Hunsicker graduated from Saint Joseph's in 1972 after playing on the baseball team for three years. He served as an assistant coach with the Hawks as SJU went to the NCAA Tournament in 1974. He is a member of the Saint Joseph's Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 1998 and was inducted into the SJU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000.

Chuck Ercole was a three-time All-East Coast Conference honoree from 1979 to 1981. As a sophomore, he was named to the All-ECC East Second Team; he would later duplicate that feat the following season before rounding out his career as an All-ECC Honorable Mention recipient in 1981.

In 1979, Ercole posted a blistering .406 batting average, which was the fifth-highest single-season number in Hawk history to that point; the mark currently ranks him 10th on the all-time list. That season, the Hawks narrowly missed a berth in the NCAA Tournament, reaching the ECC finals before falling to Delaware.

Ercole finished his career at Saint Joseph's with a .335 batting average, which ranked fifth all-time upon his graduation. He also served as a team captain in 1980 and 1981. Ercole currently resides in Philadelphia and is a partner at the law firm of Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP.

Mike DeVincentis played in 206 games over the course of his illustrious career on Hawk Hill, tying him for the program's all-time record. He recorded more at bats (756) and doubles (55) than any player in Saint Joseph's history, and also ranks in the all-time top 10 in runs batted in (second, 166), hits (third, 245), and runs scored (sixth, 137). He is one of three Hawks to drive in eight runs in a single game, tying the SJU record in his final game in the Crimson and Gray.

DeVincentis led the Hawks in at bats and runs batted in for three seasons each, and in 1998 his career-best 16 doubles led the Hawk squad. An ECAC All-Star 2000, DeVincentis also earned Second Team All-Atlantic 10 honors that year as well. A .324 career hitter, he was also a three-time captain of the SJU squad, serving in the role from 1999 to 2001.

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 sfremont@sju.edu; you can also register online at www.alumni.sju.edu/register.