The Wright State baseball program and head coach Rob Cooper has announced that Joe Smith, former Raider great and current relief pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, will be the keynote speaker at the 2012 First Pitch Banquet on Thursday, January 26, on the main arena floor in Wright State's Ervin J. Nutter Center.
Smith, who led the Raiders to the 2006 NCAA Tournament with a Horizon League Championship, will highlight the banquet that will kick off the 2012 season for the Raider baseball program.
In three seasons at WSU (2004-06), Smith posted 22 saves while striking out 145. The team MVP in 2005, Smith put together a break-out season in 2006 as the Raiders won the Horizon League Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Regionals in Corvallis, Oregon. The Horizon League Pitcher of the Year that season, he recorded 13 saves and a 0.98 ERA.
Along with being named the Horizon League Pitcher of the Year in 2006, Smith also earned Second Team All-Mideast Region and First Team All-Horizon League honors. He was also the recipient of WSU's Don Mohr Male Athlete of the Year award.
After being drafted by the New York Mets in the third round of the June 2006 amateur draft, Smith made the 2007 opening-day roster and made his major league debut in St. Louis on April 1. He struck out one (Preston Wilson), walked one (Albert Pujols) and gave up a single (David Eckstein). Smith earned his first major league win on April 24 of that year after coming on in relief in the 12th inning at home against the Colorado Rockies. He went 3-2 in 2007 with 10 holds, a 3.45 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 44.1 innings.
Smith was with the Mets for all of the 2008 season, going 6-3 with 18 holds, a 3.55 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 63.3 innings. On December 10, 2008, Smith was traded by the Mets to the Cleveland Indians as part of a twelve player, three-team deal.
In three seasons with the Indians, Smith has posted a 5-5 record in 161 games with 43 holds, a 2.87 ERA and 107 strikeouts in 141 innings. For his five-year career, Smith is 14-10 with 71 holds, a 3.15 ERA and 204 strikeouts in 248.2 innings.
Smith follows in the list of great speakers, including Bill Bavasi (2011), Dusty Baker (2010), Jeff Brantley (2009), Marty Brennaman (2008), George Foster (2007) and Steve Garvey (2006). Jim "The Rookie" Morris was the first ever speak for the WSU First Pitch Banquet in 2005.
The First Pitch Banquet features a sit-down dinner along with a silent auction. The cost for the event will be $60 per person, $500 for a table of eight or a VIP table for ten guests costing $1000. The VIP table includes recognition during the program and admission to a pre-event meet and greet with Smith. The doors will open to the public at 6:30. If you have any questions, please contact Cooper at (937) 775-3667.
Event Order will include:
6:30 - Doors Open, Silent Auction, Cash Bar
7:00 - Dinner
7:45 - Program with Joe Smith
9:00 - Silent Auction Winners Announced