Kings of the Diamond
Nolan Ryan & Terry Francona to Host Kings of the Diamond Dinner
Hall of Famer and American League Manager of the Year to Kick Off Big League Weekend
The fifth annual Kings of the Diamond Dinner will feature Terry Francona, the reigning American League Manager of the Year, and Nolan Ryan, baseball’s all-time strikeout leader. The dinner takes place on Thursday, March 16 at the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk. Doors open at 6 p.m. for a cocktail hour before the dinner kicks off at 7 p.m. The event will benefit HeartGift, the Miracle League of San Antonio and the Nolan Ryan Foundation.
The annual dinner has included several of baseball’s most influential players including Hall of Famers Lou Brock and Gaylord Perry (2014), Pete Rose (2015) and the Kansas City Royals George Brett last year. “We’ve had the opportunity to hear candid conversations from the game’s best over the last three years,” Ryan Sanders CEO Reese Ryan said. “By bringing in Terry, fans will get to see the game from the perspective of not only a player, but one of the winningest managers in baseball.”
Former San Antonio Express-News columnist and senior writer Richard Oliver will once again serve as moderator.
The event kicks off the H-E-B Big League Weekend 2017, a two-game Major League Baseball exhibition hosted at the iconic Alamodome in downtown San Antonio. This year features the American League West Champion Texas Rangers and the American League Champion Cleveland Indians. The games will be played on Friday, March 17 (7 p.m.) and Saturday, March 18 (2 p.m.).
“Bringing in Terry Francona for this event adds an element to it I think fans will really enjoy,” Nolan Ryan said. “Terry offers a different kind of insight from the dugout, bringing a World Series perspective with him.”
Francona has 16 years of managerial experience, compiling a 1,381-1,209 (.533) record with Philadelphia (1997-2000), Boston (2004-11) and Cleveland (2013-16). He has won the AL Manager of the Year Award twice (2013, 2016) and was named Baseball America’s Manager of the Year in 2007 and 2016. His 12 consecutive winning seasons is the longest streak by any active MLB manager and the longest since Joe Torre’s 14-year streak (1996-09). He has led three teams to the World Series, winning the Fall Classic with Boston in 2004 and 2007. He was also the first manager in Major League history to win his first eight, then 10 consecutive World Series games. Francona was drafted by the Montreal Expos in 1980 (22nd overall) and played parts of 10 seasons in the Major Leagues as a first baseman/outfielder.
Elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, Nolan Ryan was inducted on July 25, 1999, on 98.79% of the eligible ballots, a figure which remains the second highest in history. He is the only player to ever have his uniform number retired by three different teams with the Angels (#30), Astros (#34) and Rangers (#34).
The all-time leader in strikeouts (5,714) and no-hitters (7), Nolan has owned or shared 53 Major League records. He is fifth in lifetime innings (5,387), tied for seventh in shutouts (61), and tied for 13th in victories (324) while his 773 starts are second only to Cy Young (815). An eight-time All-Star, Ryan also threw 12 one-hitters, tying Bob Feller for the most ever, and owns two of the top four single-season strikeout totals in Major League history, including an all-time best 383 K’s with the Angels in 1973. He fanned 10 or more batters a major-league record 215 times.
Pre-dinner activities on March 16 include media opportunities as well as a VIP reception.
To purchase individual tickets or a table for the Kings of the Diamond dinner, contact Elisa Fogle via email or by phone at 210-229-1847. For more information on H-E-B Big League Weekend, fans can also go to Facebook.com/SABigLeagueWeekend or @SABigLeagueWeekend.