PHILADELPHIA – The Saint Joseph’s University baseball program will host its ninth annual Lead-Off Dinner and Hall of Fame Induction on Saturday, January 20, 2018. This year’s Hall of Fame inductees include Joe Spiecker ’74 and Tom Verratti ’92.  In addition to the induction ceremony, the 2017 team award winners will be honored, and members of the 2018 team will be introduced. Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Scott Franzke will once again serve as the Master of Ceremonies.

Among the catalysts for the Saint Joseph’s teams of the early 1970s, Spiecker helped the Hawks to a pair of Middle Atlantic Conference championships and NCAA Tournament appearances in 1971 and 1974. His career coincided with the Hawks’ second-highest winning percentage over a four-year stretch in program history. Individually, he made an impact as a freshman, stabilizing the middle infield, as the Hawks advanced within a game of the College World Series. Known for his versatility and unselfish play, he excelled across the diamond, making starts at second base, shortstop, third base, outfield, and catcher. As a senior, he served as team captain, garnering All-Middle Atlantic Conference East First Team honors behind the plate.

The prototypical leadoff man, Verratti started every game of his Hawk career and set the table for the hard-hitting SJU teams of the early 1990s. A speedy outfielder and career .308 hitter, he ranked as the program’s career leader in both runs scored (130) and stolen bases (48) at the time of his graduation, while also ranking among the all-time leaders in hits and walks. On the diamond, he earned Second Team All-Atlantic 10 honors as a junior in 1991. As a senior, he served as team captain and earned Academic All-A-10 recognition while also receiving the program’s award for loyalty.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit alumni.sju.edu/leadoff.  The cost is $90 ($75 for Young Alumni) and includes a reception at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m. The dinner will be held at The Westin in Center City. 

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